How to Hang Up and Drive

Experts say the inclination to text or talk while driving isn't a physical addiction

By Kim Vatis
|  Tuesday, Mar 23, 2010  |  Updated 2:37 PM CDT
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While most drivers -- roughly 90 percent -- say it's a good idea to ban texting behind the wheel, one needn't look very hard to see people still thumbing their way through traffic.

While most drivers -- roughly 90 percent -- say it's a good idea to ban texting behind the wheel, one needn't look very hard to see people still thumbing their way through traffic.

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By all accounts, it seems that most drivers aren't heeding their own advice.

While most drivers -- roughly 90 percent -- say it's a good idea to ban texting behind the wheel, one needn't look very hard to see people still thumbing their way through traffic.

The practice has been illegal since the beginning of the year, when Illinois joined 19 other states around the country with similar bans. Fines can range from $75 to $500 for violators.

Experts say the risk of an accident quadruples when someone talks on the phone while driving. It's eight times higher for those who text while driving.

Despite those scary odds, some say they're addicted to texting.

But experts say that unlike smoking, there is no physical addiction to texting and driving. That's good news for those who would like to hang up and drive.

Putting your phone away or putting it on vibrate or silent as soon as you get in the car are good first steps to weening yourself from the phone, according to Northwestern Memorial Hospital Clinical psychologist Kim Lebowitz.

Secondly, make a conscious decision to single-task and focus on the road.

Most importantly, she said, is changing others' expectations:  tell people that you're not available wheile you're on the road.

"Take a moment to declare that to yourself and you're going to be less likely to do that," Lebowitz said.


FocusDriven.org:  Advocacy group for cell-free driving

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