The Dangers of Distracted Driving
Picture credit: PSA – USDOTNHTSA
Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.
Key Facts and Statistics
An alarming number of traffic accidents are linked to distracted driving, including use of mobile devices while driving, resulting in injury and loss of life. The most recent national statistics are sobering.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2014, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
- In 2014, there were 3,179 people killed and an estimated additional 431,000 people wounded in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
- At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010.
- Ten percent of drivers aged 15 to 19 who were involved in fatal automobile accidents were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes.
- In 2014, there were 520 non-occupants killed in distraction-affected crashes.
What you can do to help
Give clear instructions – Give new drivers simple, clear instructions not to use their wireless devices while driving. Before new drivers get their licenses, discuss the fact that taking their eyes off the road – even for a few seconds – could cost someone injury or even death.
Lead by example – No one should text and drive. Be an example for others and if you need to text or talk on the phone, pull over to a safe place. Set rules for yourself and your household regarding distracted driving.
Become informed and be active – Tell family, friends and organizations to which you belong about the importance of driving without distractions. Take information to your kids’ schools and ask that it be shared with students and parents.
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