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"Distracted Driving is an Epidemic": What to say to a distracted driver?

Do you talk & drive?  April is National Distracted Driving Month.  A recent survey (*pdf here) tells us that almost all passengers in vehicles where the driver is texting or emailing felt "very unsafe". The survey also shows us that younger passengers (between ages of 18 and 25) are less likely to speak up to their drivers than older counterparts.

I have been a passenger in a cab when I have felt uncomfortable speaking up, even though I know full well "one text or call could wreck it all".  I feel like I am less often a passenger in a vehicle where I feel unsafe, although my husband does have a habit of checking the phone (or iPod, more often) at the stop light.

If you were a passenger where the driver was on the phone, what have you said?  What can we do to encourage more drivers to lose the distractions?  For those of you with children approaching driving age, how to you advise them to drive without distraction?

For more great info: see www.distraction.gov

Comments

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Oh, this is a hot button for me. I make a point of putting my phone in my bag out of reach so that I won't be tempted into answering a call or looking at a text. My children's lives are not worth whatever it is at the other end of the line.

Recently, I was visiting family, and my sister was texting while driving. I grabbed the phone away from her and told her to focus on driving. I don't hesitate to speak up no matter who is in the driver's seat.

As for kids... mine have a while until they are at that age. However, I have made a point of telling them that I can't pick up the phone, call dad, etc while driving because it's not safe. And every time we see another driver yapping on their phone, I make a comment. They are very aware of it, and how unsafe that behavior is. And, I hope that demonstrating safe behaviors in this area will over time make it sink in.

Also, I'd be likely to take away phone privileges if I caught a child using it when they aren't supposed to (like driving, in class, etc).

Occasionally my husband will make a short call and meanwhile I am scanning the road to anticipate dangers. Generally I tell him that if he wants to make phone calls (usually for work), I will drive. This is often a deterrent! I do think it would be much harder to speak up with a taxi driver or acquaintance.

I never, ever text while driving and I can't stand it when other people do. One of my bosses did this once on a freeway in LA and I said "I know you think I'm paranoid about the risks of texting and driving but please remember that I'm someone's mother. " That was all it took. On another note, I was texting while walking to pick up my son from school the other day and tripped on a lip in the sidewalk because I wasn't watching where I was going. I have never fallen so hard so fast. Ripped the knees on my cute jeans and had bloody skinned knees to boot. Apparently I have no business texting at all ;).

I never text or call while driving because I am very much concerned with my safety and other people's safety too. It is just so frustrating when you are so careful driving while others are not.

I think texting while driving is very dangerous. That said, I don't know why it is illegal to quickly check your texts at a red light. What do you think?

Briann... that's still a bad idea. You aren't aware of what's really going on around you.

I don't get in the car with folks who do that and I never do that. I'm a good role model for my kids. If I ever caught one of my teens doing that they would lose their phone for a month!

States are also grappling with the legality of following a map program on a handheld device. People are so busy looking at the map and signs that they don't see pedestrians, etc.

It is just so frustrating when you are so careful driving while others are not.

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