Roadside Chat - Less likely to crash when phone is stashed

3-1 less likely to crashReading a quick text or checking email for a few seconds is typically harmless - unless you’re behind the wheel.

Recent research shows that 97 percent of Americans now own a cell phone of some kind and 90 percent of those phones are smartphones. In nearly every state including Iowa, texting while driving is illegal, yet we see people doing it all the time.

You may not realize how many people are impacted. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32,657 people died in distraction-affected crashes from 2012 to 2021 in the United States. In 2020 alone, data shows that 342,652 people were injured in crashes where distraction was a factor.

We can all do our part to make the road safer. If you’re the driver, be an example to your family and friends by putting your phone away. If you are in the vehicle with someone who is texting while driving, speak up. You could be saving the life of yourself, your vehicle mates, or others who are sharing the road with you.

Safety Tips for Driving

  • If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it is safe to text.
  • Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
  • Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.
  • Struggling to put the phone down while you’re driving? Activate your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature, or put your cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of your vehicle until you arrive at your destination.

Get involved!

Project Yellow Light is a scholarship competition designed to bring about change related to distracted driving. Video and radio entries are due April 1.

So far in 2024 in Iowa, 28 people have been killed in traffic crashes. That’s an increase of six since last Friday. In Iowa in 2023, there were 376 traffic-related deaths. To see statistics published daily by the Office of Driver Services, go to the daily fatality report at

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