Are you guilty of sending text messages from behind the wheel? If you are, you’re not alone. Although hard statistics on the practice are scarce, it’s clearly a growing problem. More than 150 billion text messages are sent annually, and a substantial percentage of those are sent from the driver’s seat.
Anything that takes a driver’s attention off the road increases the likelihood of an accident, including talking on a cell phone, eating, applying make-up or shaving. But text messaging may be especially dangerous since composing and sending a message requires a driver to look at the phone or device rather than at the highway and surrounding traffic for an extended period of time.
Texting while driving has been identified as a factor in several accidents, with police linking the time phone text messages were sent with the occurrence of fatal automobile crashes. It seems an especially prevalent practice among the young: One insurance company survey found that 19% of drivers admit to sending text messages while driving, and an alarming 37% of drivers between the ages of 18 and 27 engage in the practice.
The problem has become widespread enough for some states, including Washington and Oregon, to take notice and consider legislation that makes driving while texting a crime. Activists are lobbying to include specific texting-while-driving provisions in existing laws that prohibit hand-held electronic devices to be use on the road.
In fact, a recent Harris Interactive poll revealed that 89% of Americans support legislation to ban texting while behind the wheel. And 91% of respondents believed that people who text and drive are just as dangerous as drunks on the road.
What can you do about this problem? Stay safe by resisting the temptation and encouraging others to do the same.
We are a nation of conspicuous consumers, filling our homes with all kinds of electronics from computers to Wii consoles. While all of these gadgets are designed to make staying at home more fun, owning them can make your home an attractive target for burglars. According to 2006 FBI crime statistics, 66.2 percent of all reported burglaries were home break-ins. The average dollar loss per burglary offense in 2006 was $1,834. If you have a lot of expensive personal belongings, installing a home security system may be a good idea.
In addition to protecting your valuables, you may also want to consider the need to protect your family’s safety. FBI statistics show that 63.1 percent of all home burglaries in 2006 happened during the day. What would happen to you and your family if a burglar attempted to break in while you were home? Installing a home security system provides you with peace if mind, knowing that your loved ones are protected.
When you are tying to decide if you should install a security system, here are some other things you should consider:
- Are you living in a high-crime area? – Long time residents in a neighborhood know the likelihood of their home being burglarized. If you live in a high-crime area, you probably need a security system. If you’ve just moved into a neighborhood, do some research to find out how high a risk there is for being burglarized so you can determine if you need additional security.
- Is your home inviting to burglars? – There are certain circumstances that mark your home as a target, such as living in a ground floor apartment, being surrounded by thick bushes and trees, having old doors and windows that are easy to break into, or living on a poorly-lit street where people are seldom around. If any of these descriptions apply to your home, you may want to consider a home security system.
- How expensive is it to own a system? – There are a number of security systems to choose from, with a wide range of prices. Keep in mind that the more sophisticated the technology, the higher the price. However, you should be able to find something within your budget that will give you the protection you need.
- Does your homeowner’s insurance offer a discount if you install a system? – Most insurance companies will give you a premium discount if you install any kind of home security system. The amount of the discount will depend on the type of system you choose. If you install a home security system that has monitoring services, the discount can range up to 20 percent. Check with your insurance agent to see what your insurer offers.
Are there steps you can take to minimize the need for a security system? – There are some low tech ways to burglar proof your home, such as, installing dead-bolt locks, replacing hollow doors with doors made of metal or solid hard wood, installing a wide-angle peephole in the door, replacing old or cracked windows, installing removable rods to prevent windows from being opened, and pruning bushes and trees that surround your house.