Members of the National Transportation and Safety Board are saying that unless distracted driving is seen as being as socially unacceptable as drinking and driving, the country should expect a dramatic increase in fatal traffic accidents.
The distracted driving to which they are referring includes behaviors such as texting, talking on mobile phones, and surfing the internet on a mobile device while behind the wheel of a boat, train, or car, truck, or other vehicle.
The NTSB gathered in Washington for the specific purpose of examining the details of a fatal crash that occurred in 2010 where a barge and a tour boat collided, killing two people and throwing 35 more individuals overboard into a Philadelphia shipping channel. It was later discovered by the organization that the pilot of the tug that was directing the barge had been managing a family emergency over his mobile phone.
According to Deborah Hersman, NTSB chairperson, “Many people continue to think it’s just going to take a moment (to call or text).” She then asked how the American people can alter this mindset and acknowledge the danger of it.
Robert Sumwalt, a member of NTSB, said that the new leading cause of DUI is rapidly becoming distraction due to mobile technology. He added that “This is going to reach epidemic proportions.”
He went on to say that it is up to society to understand the magnitude of the danger posed by these distractions, and to begin to adopt a mindset that they are just as unacceptable as driving without a seatbelt, or drinking and driving.