Texting and driving is a dangerous act, even for the most experienced of drivers but for young and inexperienced drivers, the risk is drastically higher.

The National Safety Council (US) reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million car accidents every year, with the NSW Centre for Road Safety stating that mobile phone use while driving rates as among the five top causes of road fatalities.

Studies have shown that people that text while driving are 23 times more likely to be in an accident causing either themselves or someone else harm. Furthermore, 21% of young drivers under the age of 25 that were involved in fatal accidents were found to be distracted by their mobile phone at the time of impact.

By simply putting down your phone while driving these statistics could drastically drop. Eighteen year-old Madison Neville shares of her near death experience due to being in the car with a driver that was distracted by their phone.

“I saw my life flash before my eyes,” she says, “we went around the corner and all of a sudden he lost control and the pole was there right in front of me.”“Now that I have been in that situation, I refuse to use my phone and drive. I won’t even change the radio while I’m driving,” says Madison.

Statistics show that looking at your mobile phone just to check a text message will distracted a driver for a minimum of 5 seconds. At 60km/h this means you will travel 100 meters, enough to run off the road, not notice pedestrians or bikes, and to cause an accident.

With most young people expecting a reply to their message within 5 minutes of sending it, the urge to constantly check their phone is predominant. By answering that text message, drivers are 25 times more likely to be in a serious or fatal accident.

Not only is technology taking over our lives but it is also taking away the lives of (too) many. By making the decision to not pick up your phone while driving, you could save yourself from becoming yet another statistic.

Moodoff Day is a charitable organization now in its 5th year, that aims to raise awareness for the addictive behaviour and all too often inappropriate use of smart phones. Their Moodoff Day, the charity’s annual awareness day is held on Sunday the 26th February, when we are asked to spend just 5 hours without our beloved devices. Breaking our usual patterns of living by our phones, may just give us the time to spend connecting with friends and family and to realize just much our phones rule our lives.

While the overuse of our phones at home or during lunch and meetings may only be considered as rude or distracting, come to driving, this turns into a high-risk gamble. So make using your smart phone more consciously part of your resolution for 2017.

You can register your support and participation for Moodoff Day on their website and share your images, stories and posts on their facebook page at www.fb.com/moodoffday

This year Moodoff Day aims to specifically reach out to as many young drivers as possible in order to reduce the toll due to texting while driving.

“If we can just save one extra live through raising awareness, then it is worth the effort,” says MoodOff Day founder Tapas Senapati.

“We aim to raise awareness of the impact of smart phones right across the gamut, but young drivers is our big focus. We need all the help we can get to save young lives from unnecessary injury or loss,” he adds.

To lend your support to the MoodOff Day initiative, you can donate to the cause at www.moodoffday.org and share their initiative through social media — just not while driving please. Happy switching off, come February 26th.

Tapas Senapati
MoodOff Day
Address: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Email: [email protected]

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