You would be forgiven for believing that distracted driving is primarily a problem only in the United States. After all, a recent report by the National Transportation Safety Board seemed to indicate that U.S. drivers were most likely to drive distracted by their handheld devices.

But handheld devices, cell phones, text messaging systems and other types of technological marvels are a global phenomenon. People all around the world are using these devices to communicate; work and play; conduct business and make their lives easier. The fact that distracted driving seems only to be a problem here in the U.S. is more to do with national pride than statistical fact.

A recent survey conducted in Australia, on the opposite side of the globe, shows that drivers there are no more immune to the effects of distracted driving than drivers here in America.

A 2011 Survey of Community Attitudes to Road Safety found that 54 percent of drivers admit to receiving calls on their cell phone while driving and another 25 percent admit to answering them. Shockingly, more than 33 percent of Australian drivers admit to reading a text message while driving and another 14 percent admit they have actually sent a text message while driving.

Here’s the most shocking result of their survey: More than 85 percent of drivers surveyed said they believed using a cell phone while driving increased the risk of having an accident.

Even though they knew better; admitted they knew better, they still did it.

This is what makes distracted driving such a danger. The idea that we think we can do it and get away with it. Not just that it is legal, but that it is ok to do; safe driving. By fooling ourselves into believing we can drive distracted we impose an even greater risk on ourselves and everyone who shares the road with us.

It doesn’t matter if you live in the U.S.A., Australia or any point in between, distracted driving is a sure way to get yourself killed. Whether it happens the first time you do it or the last time, the danger is very real.

The best way to avoid a crash caused by distracted driving? Just don’t do it.

Image: Bill Longshaw /