April is National Distracted Driver Awareness Month

Distracted driving continues to be a leading problem on roadways in the United States. In 2015, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. The use of electronic devices while driving continues to be the leading cause of distracted driving. The U.S. Department of Transportation is leading the effort across the nation to stop texting and cell phone use while operating a vehicle. Text messaging requires your visual, manual, and cognitive attention, making it “the most alarming distraction.”

“Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger the driver, passenger and bystander safety” (U.S. DOT). Distracted driving includes but is not limited to:

  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting the radio, CD player, or MP3 player
  • Using Infotainment Systems

 

Distracted Driving Is a Growing and Deadly Threat

Too many drivers are ignoring their responsibilities behind the wheel. That’s why State/Local Law Enforcement Organizations will be stepping up enforcement to catch distracted drivers from April 12 to April 16, 2018, as part of the U Drive. U Text. U Pay 2 Campaign, a national high visibility effort to enforce distracted-driving laws.

According to NHTSA, 10% of fatal crashes, 15% of injury crashes, and 14% of all police-reported motor vehicle crashes in 2015 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.

Texting while driving has become an especially problematic trend among millennials. According to NHTSA, young drivers, 16 to 24 years old, have been observed using handheld electronic devices while
driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007.

  • Nine percent of all drivers, 15 to 19 years old, involved in fatal crashes were reported as being distracted at the time of the crashes in 2015. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of fatal crashes.
  • Handheld cell phone use while driving is highest among 16 to 24-year-old drivers, but female drivers 15 to 39 years old are most at-risk for being involved in a fatal crash involving a distracted driver.
  • Female drivers with a cell phone have been more likely to be involved in fatal distracted driving crashes as compared to male drivers every year since 2011

Drop the Double Standard on Distracted Driving – The Dangers Are Real

  • The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found in analyzing 2009-2012 data, that even while more than 8 in 10 drivers believed it completely unacceptable for a motorist to text or e-mail behind the wheel, more than a third of those same respondents admitted to reading text messages while driving.
  • Just as disturbing, even as fatalities go up, fewer drivers seem concerned about texting while driving. According to the AAA Foundation’s 2015 Traffic Safety Culture Index, significantly fewer motorists (77%) believed texting while driving is a problem, down from 96 percent in 2013–a 19-point drop in just two years.
  • Texting while driving is more than just personally risky. When you text and drive, you become a danger to everyone around you.

Put Your Phone Away or Get Ready to Pay 

  • Don’t follow the pack, be a leader. When you get behind the wheel, be an example to your family and friends by putting your phone away.
  • In 47 States, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, texting while driving is an illegal, ticketable offense.
  • Speak up. If your friends text while driving, tell them to stop. Listen to your passengers; if they catch you texting while driving, and tell you to put your phone away, put it down.
  • No one likes to be called out by a friend for doing something wrong, but it’s even worse to get caught by law enforcement and end up paying a fine.
  • Remember, when you get behind the wheel, put your phone away.


Texting while driving is dangerous and getting caught can be expensive and embarrassing.

Save face, your money, and maybe save a life—your text message can wait.

Remember: U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

 

Source:

The Hartford Driver Letter

Resources
1. “Distracted Driving.” TSM Traffic Safety Monitoring. USDOT|National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 06
Feb. 2017. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.

2. “Fact Sheet / Talking Points” TSM Traffic Safety Monitoring. USDOT|National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration, 06 Feb. 2017. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.