by HGD Staff
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Did you know that distracted driving continues to be the number one leading cause of car accidents in America? Talking on the phone, texting, eating, reading, grooming, and talking are just some of the ways drivers get distracted behind the wheel. In 2015 alone, 3477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 were injured due to crashes involving distracted drivers (NHTSA). That amounts to about 10 people dying per day. Additionally, motor vehicle accidents are the 3rd leading cause of Traumatic Brain Injury.
Cell phone use is the biggest culprit for distracted driving and accounts for more than 27% of all car crashes annually.
Three types of distractions
Driving distractions are classified by traffic safety experts into three types: Manual, Visual and Cognitive. (EndDD)
- Manual distractions are those where you move your hands from the wheel.
- Visual distractions are those where you focus your eyes away from the road.
- A cognitive distraction is when you’re mind wanders away from the task of driving.
Texting involves all three types of distractions.
- Texting while driving increases the risk of having a crash or close-call by 23 times.
- Taking your eye off the road for just 5 seconds, the time it takes to read or send a short text, is the same as driving the length of a football field at 55 mph while blindfolded.
- Talking on a cell phone while driving impairs people as much as if they were driving intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08%
One of the biggest frustrations around the distracted driving statistics is that each one of these deaths, injuries, and damaged vehicles is entirely preventable. Just one second of your attention is all takes to change a life forever.
What Can Be Done
- Educating adults and teens about the dangers of distracted driving is of utmost importance.
- Thousands of teens die in motor vehicle crashes every year, and adults must model safe driving behavior to our children.
- Speak up when you see someone driving distracted.
- Drive distraction-free every time you’re behind the wheel.
- Download an app that blocks notifications when driving.
- Lobby for more laws for hand-held bans and laws that make texting while driving illegal.
- Take the “It Can Wait” pledge with your friends and family https://www.itcanwait.com
We must all continue to raise awareness of the deadly risks associated with distracted driving.