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[caption id="attachment_594" align="alignleft" width="300"]Woman Falls into Fountain while Texting (I bet you she's not the last person to do this....)[/caption] We've heard about the National Transportation Safety Board recommending a ban of  any use of a cellphone behind the wheel, including phone calls.  And I agree. Here's why.... We've all done it. You've called, texted or done something on your mobile device while you're driving. If you haven't, you're over 70 years old, under 17, or you live in Pennsylvania and a horse pulls your buggy. And whether you know it or not, you've had a close call with something or someone. And, you social media types are probably saying "just texting?!" You've probably tweeted, checked facebook, done a drive-by foursquare check-in (I'm talking about you @schneidermike @edwardboches and @aaronstrout) or on your Vespa> (@jeffcutler). I'm 100% guilty of this and worse. I've done this with my two boys in the car.   The facts back it up. According to the GHSA (Governors Highway Safety Association) more than 25% of automobile accidents can be tracked back to use of smartphones while driving. There are plenty of more additional stats out there but this one is pretty compelling. The seatbelt factor. I think we had the same uproar with seatbelts and that mandatory law was just passed  just 28 years ago. My parents still roll their eyes when I break out the booster seat and order my kids to buckle up. "We didn't have to do that in our day- you kids were just fine".  And lucky.... Technology will help us get over it.. Given the pace of technology, I think we won't need a traditional mobile device to make a phone call from our car. Here's when I think of the technology that Ford uses, Apple's Siri voice assistant, Skype, and Onstar. EVERYTHING will be voice activated and automatically synced with your mobile device or carrier. Hopefully, your phone will lock when it senses you are moving in your car and simply connect with your onboard/hands free/non-distracting phone "system". The NTSB recognizes the explosion of mobile. Ok, this one is a little far-fetched, but their decision is a great catalyst  for discussing the impact of mobile use in 2012 and beyond. If we're going to be doing even more on our phones in 2012- why not stop it's use (and distraction) while we're driving? Here are some quick numbers for you..
  • In 2011, 34% of Facebook use was through their mobile app. In 2012, it will be 50%. (Facebook)
  • US adults now spend more time with their mobile phones than with print magazines and newspapers combined (emarketer)
  • By 2013, there will be more mobile phones (1.82 billion) than PCs (1.78 billion) (Gartner)
  • Gartner predicts that the location-based services user base will grow globally from 96 million in 2009 to more than 526 million in 2012.
Get it? Mobile use is going to be so pervasive in our life, it's going to seep into every crevice of our behavior, so get used to it. And, while Congress wrestles over this subject and your state considers this, at least get yourself a wireless headset and focus on that road. Because, in the words of NTSB Chairman, Deborah Hersman, "No call, no text, no update, (and check-in, tweet, instagram, or angry bird) is worth a human life."