The next time you’re at a traffic light in heavy traffic, take a look at the drivers in the cars around you. You can predict what you’ll see: countless bowed heads as people check email, text and more. We all know distracted driving is dangerous and our phones have become our greatest distraction. Stats from the Indiana Department of Labor make the level of danger clear: People who text are 23 times more likely to crash than others. In recent years, we’ve seen more crashes due to distracted driving than drunken driving.
I also worry about how distracted we are in the moments after we set the phone aside. When you see that light change out of the corner of your eye and you let your foot off the brake, are you really fully engaged in your driving? Or are you trying to quickly finish a text or still setting the phone aside or simply still thinking about the conversation you were just engaged in? I worry that we’re all putting ourselves and those around us in danger.
As I set my 2018 goals both personally and professionally, I plan to stop using my phone in the car for anything other than emergency phone calls. And I encourage everyone to make the same pledge.
Anna Gremling, executive director
Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization