April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Let’s take a look at some facts surrounding distracted driving, and discuss how to stay safe when you’re behind the wheel.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving. This includes talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to other people in the vehicle, and operating navigation or entertainment systems. You cannot drive safely unless the task of safe driving has your complete attention.
Distracted Driving Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,450 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2016. That statistic is simply staggering, especially since driving while distracted is completely avoidable.
Here are some additional statistics from 2016:
- 9.2% of fatal crashes in the United States involved distracted drivers
- 444 fatal crashes involving cellphone distractions
It Can Wait – Texting While Driving
All of the distractions listed above are dangerous and potentially fatality-causing, but it’s no surprise that texting while driving is the worst of these habits. Though the number of people killed in drunk driving collisions is much higher than collisions caused by distracted driving, distracted driving — especially texting while driving — is potentially more dangerous. When you text and drive, you take your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
This powerful video “From One Second to the Next,” told with intimate interviews from both distracted drivers and the victims of distraction-related crashes, illustrates the dangers and consequences of driving while texting.
Pledge Distraction-Free Driving
The best way to avoid causing a crash from distracted driving is to simply cut out the distractions. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
- Speak up when you’re in the car with a distracted driver.
- Parents, be a role model for your kids and never use your smart phone while operating your vehicle.
- Pledge to never drive distracted again.
Keep you eyes and your mind on the road.