Dangerous behavior once associated with young people has begun to spread to older drivers. Smart phone ownership has risen sharply among people over 30. Along with it has come an unfortunate increase in the percentage of older drivers who admit to distracted driving. The increase in distracted driving is likely to result in an increase in car accidents caused by drivers who are paying attention to their phones instead of the safe operation of a motor vehicle. The increase was tracked in a survey conducted by State Farm.
Several studies have confirmed a phenomenon known as illusory superiority. That is the phenomenon that causes relatively high percentages of people to identify themselves as above average. In terms of driving, roughly 80 percent of people consider themselves to be above average drivers. Some studies have gone so far as to suggest that the less competent the person, the more likely they are to overrate their abilities. Those who cause car accidents may be among the most confident in their driving abilities.
The Illinois House of Representatives has passed a bill to ban the use of handheld cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. The measure is intended to reduce the distracted driving accidents caused by drivers paying attention to their phones, rather than to safe driving. The bill now goes to Governor Pat Quinn. If he signs the bill into law, Illinois will become one of the earliest states to take this step in combating distracted driving.
Texting and driving is a crime in most states, including Illinois. The practice has been banned due to the sharp increase in the chances of a car accident coming from a driver who is distracted by his or her cell phone. The behavior is often attributed to young people for whom cell phones have become an integral part of life. A recent study shows that, while teens certainly text and drive with alarming frequency, adults are actually greater offenders of texting behind the wheel. Teens may simply be mirroring the behavior of their parent's generation.
A new public service announcement (PSA) will begin airing this week at Regal Cinemas and various gas station pumps across the nation. The PSA is part of a campaign by the U.S. Department of Transportation to educate teen drivers about the danger of distracted driving. The timing of the announcements is meant to coincide with the large number of teen drivers who will be on the roads during winter vacation, many in challenging weather conditions.