Windshieldink is a vehicle messaging platform, however, we cannot overemphasize the importance of not texting while driving.
There’s no doubt about the dangers of texting and driving. TextingandDrivingSafety.com has created an infographic to share some key statistics that elucidate the dangers of “Driving While Intexticated”:
- When a driver takes their eyes off the road for more than 2 seconds, their risk of crashing doubles. In 2011, at least 23% of auto collisions involved cell phones. That’s about 1.3 million crashes.
- In the 5 seconds it takes to look down at your phone, at 55 mph you would have travelled 400 feet—or the length of a football field. That’s about 80 feet per second.
- Teens who text while driving spend approximately 10% of the time outside their lane.
- Some of the justifications used include “reading a text is safer than sending one,” “they hold the phone near the windshield for better visibility,” “they increase the following distance,” “they text only at a stop sign or red light.”
- Drivers who use their cell phones are 4x more likely to be in a collision.
- Good drivers keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
Case Study: Driving Laws in Ontario, Canada
Although regulations around texting and driving exist in most places, let’s look at Ontario as an example. In Ontario, it is illegal for drivers to talk, text, type, dial, or email using handheld cell phones and other handheld communications or entertainment devices. This includes: iPods, GPS devices, MP3 players, cell phones, smartphones, laptops, and DVD players. There are exemptions for hands-free devices that you do not touch, hold, or manipulate while driving, other than to activate or deactivate it.
As of September 1, 2015, the fines and penalties for distracted driving will receive a fine of $400 plus a victim surcharge and court fee for a total of $490 if settled outside of court, a fine of up to $1,000 if you receive a summons or fight your ticket, plus three demerit points applied to your driver’s record.
If convicted of distracted driving, a novice driver will be subject to escalating sanctions such as a 30-day licence suspension; a second occurrence will result in 90-day licence suspension; and a third occurrence will result in a full licence cancellation.
If you endanger others because of any distraction, including both handheld and hands-free devices, you can also be charged with careless driving. If convicted, you will automatically receive six demerit points, fines up to $2,000, and/or a jail term of six months and up to two-year licence suspension. You can even be charged with dangerous driving (a criminal offence), with a jail term of up to five years.
However, there are a few exceptions.
A cell phone with an earpiece, headset, or Bluetooth device using voice-activated dialing may be permissible—but only if activated or deactivated verbally, a driver cannot scroll through the contact list. A GPS might be permissible provided the GPS is mounted on the dashboard or windshield and you input the required information before you start driving. Other devices, like portable media players and display screens that are built into the vehicle may be permissible depending on the usage.
Below are seven simple steps you can take to avoid being distracted while you drive:
- Use your cell phone only when you’re parked, or have a passenger take your calls.
- Let calls go to your voicemail.
- Turning your phone on silent or turning it off entirely while driving is also an option.
- Identify and pre-set your vehicle’s climate control and music or entertainment before you start driving.
- Plan your route and set your GPS before you leave.
- Don’t eat or drink while you drive. When you’re hungry or thirsty, take a break.
- Avoid other distractions like reading maps, grooming activities, and tending to children and pets.
If you receive or need to send a Windshieldink message, we ask that you pull over safely to deal with your message or ask a passenger to help out. The life you save may be your own.