Texting, surfing, emailing, using social media and video chatting are the leading causes of serious and fatal crashes for teens and adults. Laws abound in most states to ban the practice of using electronic mobile devices while driving, but in these states, such bans seem not to be effective.
It is a conundrum. States without texting while driving laws say their accident rate is holding steady, while states with such laws say their accident rate is increasing. What is the answer to getting drivers to stop using mobile devices while behind the wheel?
There are a number of new applications on the market that allow parents to monitor their teens while they are driving. While it may be a good idea, it does not stop teens from continuing to use their mobile devices on the road. There are also a number of apps that shut down a phone when an incoming call arrives and sends out a message that the driver is not available. There are also campaigns that clearly show the fatal outcomes of distracted driving, and it is not a pretty sight. But yet, nothing seems to work.
The root cause of the problem is a human one. Most drivers feel they can do multitask and their driving will not suffer. They do not think that anything will happen to them. They have done it for years. They can send an email or reply to chats in mere seconds. But mere seconds is all it takes to get involved in an accident that may kill them.
Educating drivers about the dangers of texting while driving is like educating drivers about drinking and driving. It may take years. It may take many deaths. It may hit home for some and not for others. Ultimately, law enforcement and law makers are left to deal with it as best as they can.