How long can you ignore your phone?

I'd like to issue a long-overdue apology to each of the five roommates I had in college: I'm sorry that I did not answer the phone when it was ringing. I knew that it drove you crazy, but I was absorbed in something else/didn't feel like talking to anyone, and thus, did not answer the phone.

But, I understand that most people aren't wired that way: Their phone rings and they answer it. It beeps and they answer it. Even when they are on the road.

And that is what worries me.

A University of Michigan study has announced that 90 percent of parents drive while distracted. Distractions include everything from eating, personal grooming and cell-phone related activities while driving. 

Last November, I posted the results from a similar distracted driver study done in Australia and wondered if the results from the U.S. would be about the same. They aren't. Australia distracted drivers hovers around only 20 percent.

So, back to that ringing/beeping/buzzing phone in the car. Let me ask you something: Exactly how many times has it been an emergency when you've answered it? Do you really need to answer that phone at that moment in the car or can you wait for a few minutes until you can either pull over or arrive at your destination?

I know that things won't change overnight, but I think this is a worthy cause to get behind. I, for one, do not want to be in the emergency room with my child, having to confess that the cause of the accident was that I was answering my phone.

Tell me how long you can ignore your phone (if it is really important, they will leave a message): Through your commute home? Or, at least until you get to a stop light? Let me know how you plan to be a safer driver in the comments.

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