Distracted driving is a deadly behavior. Federal estimates suggest that distraction contributes to 16% of all fatal crashes, leading to around 5,000 deaths every year. Research suggests that distraction lasts an average of 27 seconds, meaning that, even after drivers put down the phone or stop fiddling with the navigation system, drivers aren’t fully engaged with the driving task.
Teens are among the drivers most impaired by distraction. Studies show that teen drivers were distracted almost a quarter of the time they were behind the wheel. Electronic devices, such as texting, emails, and downloading music, were among the biggest distractions.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is defined as any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.
Activities that can be classified as 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
- A national survey revealed that at any given moment daylight moment, 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.
- Reaching for a phone, dialing and texting increases the risk of getting into a wreck by three times, according to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
- A quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. Twenty percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving, according a study by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute.
What you can do?
- Give clear instructions – The Federal Communications Commission recommends that parents give teen 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 – Children learn from their parents’ behavior. No one should text and drive. Be an example to your children and if you need to text or talk on the phone, pull over to a safe place.
- Be in control – You decide when to send and read texts. Consider turning your phone off or setting it to silent before you begin driving.
- Remove the distraction – If you think you will be tempted to text and drive, put your phone somewhere you cannot reach it, like the trunk.
- Be considerate – Do not send a text message to a friend or loved one who is driving to meet you.
- Designate a texter – Let your passenger have the privilege of texting while you are driving.
- Take the pledge to drive phone-free and turn your cell phone off when you turn your ignition on. If you are a passenger, make sure your driver does the same.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a wreck involving a distracted driver, CONTACT US ONLINE OR CALL US AT 256-539-1990, or toll free at 877-539-1990 to set up a free consultation.