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How can we stop distracted driving?

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, distracted driving results in eight deaths and over 1,000 injuries every day. Driving requires your full attention, but texting and driving, which takes the driver's eyes off the road and their hands off the wheel, is on the increase. Distracted driving affects all drivers from time to time and can come with serious consequences.

Despite the increase of safety features and technology in cars, fatal crashes from distracted driving are on the rise. While many states have laws restricting cellphone use by new drivers, only 14 states prohibit the use of handheld devices while driving for all ages. West Virginia, for instance, bans the use of hand-held devices for all drivers, including texting while driving.

New iPhone feature to prevent texting and driving

Apple has added a new feature to its iPhone that allows users to put their phones on "do not disturb while driving." The feature is more robust than the traditional "do not disturb" function in that it can sense if the user is driving and, when it does, it will issue a prompt for the driver to enable it. This could be a very positive step in the fight against distracted driving.

Use your cell phone for emergency situations only. You should only use your cell phone while driving if it is an emergency. Even then, you should pull over safely to make a call. Some states include a provision in their cell phone/driving laws to allow drivers to dial 911 in an emergency.

Turning your phone off or putting it out of reach can help the urge to text, search the web or Snapchat.

Feeling tired? Pull over. Falling asleep behind the wheel significantly increases the risk of a crash. If you are having trouble staying awake, you should pull off the road. Trying to get home faster will do you no good.

Limit the number of passengers in your car. Most states limit the number of teenage passengers a teen driver can have with them in the early months of getting their license. Driving with friends can easily distract the driver and cause a dangerous environment for everyone involved.

Avoid eating while driving. Many people in a rush will eat while on the way to work or school if it saves time. Even though you are not on your phone or distracted by passengers, you still lose focus from the drivers around you.

All drivers should consider the dangers of distracted driving and avoid it as much as possible.

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