The Dangers of Distracted Driving Revealed
Distracted driving is defined as any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from the road and their thoughts away from the task at hand. Distracted driving does not only endanger the driver, but also their passengers, other drivers and even pedestrians. Using a cell phone, texting, grooming, using a navigation system, eating and drinking and playing with the radio are all forms of distracted driving. The statistics that surround distracted driving and accidents are alarming but also powerfully influential in revealing the real dangers of being distracted behind the wheel.
General Statistics about Distracted Driving
While many of the statistics we hear about in the news revolve around accidents and deaths related to distracted driving, there are some other, more general statistics that can also show the dangers. For example, five seconds is the average amount of time a driver’s eyes are off the road while texting – if traveling at least 55 mph, that is plenty of time to travel the entire length of a football field without even looking. Scarier yet, a quarter of the teens surveyed in a recent study admitted to texting while driving one or more times during a single trip and 20 percent of teens and even 10 percent of parents have admitted to having multi-message, long conversations via texting while behind the wheel.
Distracted Driving and Car Accidents
When it comes to distracted driving and car accidents, the statistics are alarming. A study showed that engaging in what is known as “visual-manual subtasks”, such as reaching for something in the car or manipulating an electronic device like a phone or GPS, makes drivers three times more likely to be involved in or cause an accident. Additionally, 10 percent of drivers under 20 years of age who were involved in fatal car crashes were thought to be engaged in one or more distracted driving activities at before the accident and 27 percent of individuals involved in fatal distracted driving car accidents were in their 20s. In 2012, an estimated 421,000 individuals were injured in car accidents as a result of distracted driving.
These statistics show that distracted driving does not just affect young, inexperienced drivers but in many cases, drivers of all ages. When a driver takes their eyes off the road to answer a text message, change the radio or update directions in the GPS, they are putting their lives, and the lives of those around them, in jeopardy. Distracted driving is an epidemic that has begun to grow exponentially over the past few years. While there is no way to completely prevent other drivers from driving distracted, you can control your actions while behind the wheel and potentially save someone’s life.
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*Photo Courtesy of Scott Anderson via Creative Commons License