A Common Cause of Traffic Crashes
Springfield police officers work thousands of traffic crashes each year. These crashes cost millions of dollars in repairs, medical bills, and lost wages. Most crashes could have been easily avoided if the drivers had been paying closer attention to their driving. Driving a motor vehicle requires all of our attention.
Canada conducted a study that showed drivers talking on a cell phone are as likely to be involved in a crash as people who are legally intoxicated. How many of us drive around town with our families in our cars while talking on a cell phone? Most of us would never consider driving our families around while intoxicated, but we are taking just as big a risk.
We work crashes where drivers can't believe they ran a red light or were speeding because they were so busy talking on the phone. Even hands-free phones distract our attention from our driving. Instead of thinking about our driving, we are thinking about what the other person is saying or what we should say. Think about how many times you have been talking on the telephone and had to ask someone else to hold on a minute. When you are distracted, it's difficult to hear and understand someone on the phone. The same is true when we are driving. We turn our attention from our driving to our phone conversation.
If you have passengers, let them talk on the phone. If you are driving and need to talk on the phone, pull off the road first. Most phones have voice mail, so turn off your phone while driving. Your messages will be there when you turn it back on. People calling you don't know you're driving and may be making a routine call that could wait.
Cell phones are wonderful tools that can make our lives easier. Let's use them responsibly and keep ourselves and those we share the road with safe.