When’s the last time you texted while driving? Or did something else equally as distracting?
Not that long ago I’m guessing.
Yeah, me too.
We should know better, right?
Let me share a story, and then some research.
Nine years ago texting and driving didn’t have the same awareness level as it does today. But for one family, the night of August 25, 2009, the awareness came crashing home.
Jake Hawkes was 19, a recent graduate from Sky View High School in Cache County in Utah, and was soon headed to college on a soccer scholarship.
Jake had always been an active kid and had experienced several “accidents,” as his father Chad writes on the Zero Fatalities website, “on skateboards, bicycles, soccer fields and other outdoor-related injuries, but had always been a good driver.”
On that fateful late summer day in 2009, Jake was driving on Highway 89 towards Hyde Park Lane when he “swerved to avoid hitting a car in front of him and rolled his truck.”
Jake wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle sustaining massive head injuries. He passed away early the next morning.
The investigation determined Jake “had been sending and receiving text messages just prior to the crash.”
Chad has teamed up with Zero Fatalities to share Jakes story on their most recent “Teen Memoriam” project. This video here shares the stories of several teens who have been killed on Utah roads. Click the video that cued up to play Jake’s story.
WHY DO WE DRIVE DISTRACTED?
We are part of multitasking generation ages eight to 108. We divide our attention and efforts between the important and mundane simultaneously.
We split our brain time at work and at home, on the road and when we’re supposed to be sleeping.
We watch TV, chat on social media, interact with our family, and do homework all at the same time.
Don’t believe me?
Take a sneak peek into any home and any given night and there’s a good chance you’ll see living proof.
Maybe even in your home.
And maybe even in mine.
Believe me friends, I’m not criticizing, just pointing out the obvious.
So why do we really drive distracted? Do my theories of being part of a multitasking generation hold any merit? A quick search led me to Brenda Kay Wiederhold 2016 scholarly article in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, aptly titled, “Why Do People Still Text While Driving?”
Wiederhold compiles a list of seven reasons and explores the “scientiﬁc underpinnings” of each.
1. We think we can multitask.
2. We think we’re better at it than everyone else.
3. Actually, we basically just think we’re superheroes.
4. We’re expected to be constantly plugged in.
5. Plus, we’re not that great at entertaining ourselves anymore.
6. We’re narcissists.
7. Our self-esteem feeds on social responses.
I was particularly intrigued by the first reason on her list.
”Multitasking: The Seiler study found that people who talk on their phones while driving are also more likely to text while driving, thus suggesting that people multitask while driving. In a 2014 AT&T survey of 1,004 U.S. adults, more than a quarter of the texting drivers believed they ‘can easily do several things at once, even while driving.’ ”
The entire one-page article is worth a quick read.
WHAT WILL WE DO NOW?
The big question is what will we do now?
Keep doing what we always do?
Or change, and perhaps save a life in the process?
It’s up to us.
Have a great Monday! Thanks for letting me share.
p.s. Take 13 minutes today to focus on being safe by not driving distracted.
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