Distracted driving and mobile phones

In its final season, The Oprah Winfrey Show dedicated more than one episode to the issue of driving while using a mobile phone. The show highlighted some fairly scary statistics.

In the USA, as well as in Australia, you are four times more likely to be in an accident if you drive while talking on a mobile phone.

The statistics for driving while texting are even worse. Texting while driving is equivalent to having four shots of alcohol before getting in your car.

You are 8 times more likely to be in an accident when you drive while texting.

The most staggering statistics? That in the USA last year alone, 6000 people were killed by mobile phone related accidents. A further 500,000 people were injured.

Oprah launched a nationwide campaign to lobby for all US states to make mobile phone use illegal in cars. Unlike Australia, mobile phone use while driving is not illegal in all US states.

There were also some eye-opening graphics about mobile phone use while driving.

Dr David Strayer from the University of Utah explained that it is physically impossible for the brain to concentrate on both talking and driving at once. So the brain blocks out certain messages to compensate while you are driving. Examples are included below.

Driving without distractions

Driving while talking on phone

Some of Oprah's viewers created bumper stickers to support the cause. My favourite was:

“Honk if you love Jesus… Text if you want to meet him…”

To watch the full episode head to Oprah.com

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