Warren Buffet today told CNBC that profit at Berkshire Hathaway company GEICO was down $460 million last year from 2014’s $1.16 billion. As a result, he forecasts an increase in insurance premiums for consumers. What’s behind the drop in profits? Increased losses from accidents stemming from … wait for it…. Distracted driving.
But more important than insurance premiums is another data point. According to the National Safety Council, the number of traffic deaths in the United States rose 8 percent from 2014 to 2015, the largest year-to-year percentage increase in more than 50 years.
All of us need to get our arms around the now inescapable conclusions that distracted driving is a huge, huge issue. Despite the ad campaigns, the public service announcements and the pleas from family and loved ones, distracted driving continues to cost lives and money.
Perhaps the biggest challenge to overcoming distracted driving is the false sense that we, ourselves, can handle it. We all sneak a peak at the phone. Maybe we take that “important call.” We tell ourselves “It’s not like I do it all the time.” We all think we’re “good” at multitasking when we’re in the car. Study after study shows us we’re not.
Whatever the rationalization, it’s clear that the problem is getting worse, not better. Technologies are being developed to block phones from sending and receiving texts, and apps like ours can tell you how risky your driving is. Someday, the advent of self driving cars will enable us to talk and text all we want when we’re in a car. But until then, we all need to do our part in becoming more responsible drivers.
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