Driving Isnít a Video Game: Slow Down
In the world of video games, those that include some component of racing and reckless driving are among the best-selling in the world. These include game franchises like Need for Speed, Mario Kart, and of course, Grand Theft Auto. One of the big draws of racing games is the adrenaline rush they offer the player. Unfortunately, when the lines between the virtual world and the real world blur, and people looking for that same rush drive too fast, the consequences are devastating. Unlike in video games, life has no reset button.
Consequences of Speeding
In video games, the player is rewarded for speeding Ė the faster you get there, the higher the score. Collateral damage doesnít make a difference. Unfortunately, in the real world, the opposite is true. There is no reward for speeding, and collateral damage does matter. In fact, itís the only thing that matters.
● Speed-related collisions were responsible for 9,944 fatalities in 2011 in the United States. Thatís almost a third of all crash fatalities.
● Accidents caused by speeding cost more than $40 billion annually, according to the National Highway Transportation Administration. Thatís $76,000 every minute.
● Speed is the primary factor in more than 30% of all construction zone collision fatalities.
● In 2011, speed was cited as the number one factor in all fatal car accidents, according to the NHTSA.
Speeding and Distracted Driving
When youíre speeding while playing a video game, it makes no difference if you become distracted. After all, if you crash you can always reset the level. In the real world, of course, itís much different. Distracted driving is as reckless and dangerous as speeding, and when the two are combined, the results have proven to be lethal.
Of the more than 32,000 people who were killed in car accidents in 2011, 3,331 of them died as a result of a distracted driver. A driving distraction can include anything from changing the radio station to eating, looking in the mirror, or using your cell phone.
The primary reason that distracted driving and speeding is such a deadly combination is because of the conflict in reaction time. When you speed, you require more time to react to hazards. However, when you are distracted, you are actually reducing the amount of time you are giving yourself to react. For example, when sending a text message while driving, your eyes are off the road for approximately 5 seconds. When you are travelling at a speed of 55 MPH, thatís about 360 feet, or the length of an entire football field.
When driving that distance at that speed, you need to be aware of whatís coming your way. The decision to drive while distracted can literally mean the difference between life and death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a pedestrian has a 90 percent chance of survival if struck by a vehicle that is traveling under 20 miles an hour. However, if that vehicle hits the pedestrian at 50 MPH, then they virtually have no chance of survival. No reset button. No level repeat. Itís just game over.