You have heard of the dangers of distracted driving, and you have a very clear picture of what constitutes distraction. Or do you? While you may consider using your cell phone to be a distraction, others may consider eating to be a distraction. Still others may consider that people who are changing the radio station are distracted. The truth is, anything that takes your attention away from your primary task behind the wheel can be considered a distraction.
The most common include:
- Using a cell phone in some way
- Eating and/or drinking
- Talking to other people in the vehicle
- Applying makeup or fixing hair
- Using a GPS
- Reading maps and other print
- Adjusting the dial on the stereo
Any or all of these things can provide a distraction and, in turn, are a danger for the driver, passengers and other people sharing the roadway. The best way to curb distracted driving is to learn more about it. Here are some facts that you may be unaware of.
- In 2013, there were just over 3,000 people killed in accidents that involved distracted drivers. More than 400,000 people were injured.
- There are more than 150 billion text messages sent every month in the United States. A good many of these are sent by drivers.
- Teenage drivers and those under 20 comprised 10% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in which the driver was distracted.
- Drivers in their 20s account for 27% of distracted drivers in crashes that are fatal.
- Look around you the next time you are driving and chances are high that you will see someone on a cell phone. At any moment, there are thought to be about 660,000 drivers utilizing a mobile device.
- Using a phone behind the wheel puts you at a three-times higher risk of being involved in a crash.
- You can cover the length of a football field in five seconds when you are driving a car. How long do you take your eyes away from the road ahead to adjust the radio or answer a phone call?
- The use of hands-free devices has not proved substantially safer than using a cell phone the traditional way.
These facts may be surprising to some and not so much to others. Regardless of how you feel about these statistics, the fact is that distracted driving is common and puts everyone in danger. The next time you get behind the wheel, pay attention to just how often you are taking your eyes off of the road.