Everyone knows that texting and driving is extremely dangerous. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that, “each day in the United States more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.” Nevertheless, some of us just can’t resist the urge to send that important text while on the road. But it might be time to reconsider. Texting and driving not only forces you to take your eyes off the road, but also causes you to remove your hands from the wheel.
This is where commitment devices come in. Commitment devices are techniques that make it easier for us to kick unwanted habits and commit to those habits we need to make stronger. For example, say my mom is allergic to peanuts, but she loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I suggest, why not just have a jelly sandwich, only to receive the reply, “What’s a PB&J without peanut butter?” A strong retort indeed; however, this behavior can be easier to eliminate with the help of a commitment device. In this scenario, that might involve making my dad hide the peanut butter so my mother won’t be tempted to eat it.
So how does a commitment device apply to texting and driving? Well, there are a ton of apps out there that can help keep you from texting and driving by preventing you from turning on a text app when your car is in motion. Some apps lock your phone; others will put your phone on silent mode. In any case, using these “commitment apps” can help you stay focused on the road and avoid being distracted. You can find a few of these apps posted below. Remember, it might take just a second to check a text, but in the same amount of time a life can be lost or devastated.