Almost everyone owns a cellphone these days, and a large number of people use them while driving. Cellphone use, including texting, sending or receiving emails and visiting a social media site, is an activity that requires attention that should be only on the road ahead.

The National Safety Council wants restrictions on texting. In fact, it would like to see bans on using mobile phones in vehicles altogether, and for good reason.

Reviewing statistics

In gathering data related to vehicle crashes around the country, the NSC found that there were more than 40,000 highway fatalities in 2016, an increase of 6 percent over 2015 and 14 percent over 2014. A good economy and lower prices at the pump resulted in more cars on the road: more people driving to and from work and more families taking vacation road trips.

Breaking down the figures

An NSC survey turned up the following information about motorists:

  •         Ten percent of motorists admitted to driving drunk.
  •         Forty-three percent of those drunk drivers were involved in a vehicle crash.
  •         Sixteen percent of respondents said they do not always wear seat belts.
  •         Forty-seven percent of drivers are comfortable texting while behind the wheel.

The results caused NSC Chief Executive Deborah Hersman to remark that “our complacency is killing us.”

Banning phones

The National Safety Council views cellphone use as such a risk for motorists that it has renewed its call to ban all mobile phones while driving, including systems that are hands-free. The group also advocates the installation of ignition interlock devices for all convicted drunk drivers, in addition to other suggestions to reduce vehicle crashes.

End results

A car crash can occur in seconds. You could have minor injuries if this should happen to you, but they could also be severe enough to change your life drastically. You cannot control what other motorists do, but when you are in your own vehicle, you can at least eliminate one very risky driving behavior: Simply do not use your cellphone.