Driving distractions endanger the lives of drivers, passengers, other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. By educating the American public about the danger that distracted driving imposes and the impact it has throughout the nation, it is hoped that a significant number of severe injuries and deaths can be prevented.
What is Distracted Driving?
Although the main focus regarding distracted driving has been on the use of cellular phones and other handheld devices, those are not the only things can can cause driver distraction. Even everyday habits such as eating or drinking, talking to passengers, using a navigation system or even adjusting the temperature or stereo in a vehicle can cause car crashes.
Key Facts About Distracted Driving
Distraction.gov, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), offers a multitude of startling statistics that reveal the true danger of distracted driving. According to their website:
- Approximately 431,000 individuals were seriously injured and another 3,179 lost their lives to distracted driving in 2014 alone.
- About 10 percent of individuals between the ages of 15 and 19 who were involved in deadly motor vehicle crashes were involved in distracting activities when the incidents occurred.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 27 percent of distracted drivers involved in fatal accidents, and about 38 percent of those using cell phones in deadly crashes are drivers who are in their 20s.
- According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), at any given time, an estimated 660,000 drivers throughout America are using cell phones or other electronic devices while driving.
- Drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 are more likely to use electronic devices while driving than other age groups.
- On average, a driver’s eyes are off the road for a full five seconds while texting. For a vehicle traveling just 55 mph, that is like covering the entire length of a football field with his eyes closed.
What is Being Done to Prevent Distracted Driving Crashes?
The U.S. DOT has launched numerous campaigns to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Additionally, they have pushed states to adopt stricter distracted driving laws, completely banned texting and cell phone use for commercial drivers, and held two national distracted driving summits. Now it is up to drivers of all ages and in all locations to make a difference.