WHAT’S UP WEDNESDAY: 06/01/22



Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Over the past couple of years, distracted driving has become a rising concern for roadside safety on a global scale. Recent distracted driving statistics indicate that the practice causes thousands of deaths in the US as well as tens of thousands globally on an annual basis. Similarly, the practice also leads to millions of dollars worth of material damages, alongside personal injury.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.

Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.

THE ISSUE

Using a cell phone while driving creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. In 2020, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

A study was conducted to understand the habits of US drivers. Though some drivers claimed they never drive while distracted, others confessed to engaging in a variety of other activities while driving, such as texting, taking pictures, drinking, etc.

Some of the habits drivers are engaged in are:

  • 23.6% of drivers are texting.
  • 52.5% of drivers are eating while driving.
  • 11.7% of drivers are taking pictures.
  • 6.5% of drivers apply makeup.
  • 3.4% drinking alcohol while driving.
  • Only 4.1% of respondents between the age of 25 to 34 declared they felt a high pressure to reply to text messages while driving. Whereas in total, 12.1% of participants in that age group felt no pressure to respond to a text message.
  • 17.9% of respondents between the ages 18 to 24 felt very pressured to reply to a text while driving. This age group is also most often found in accidents.

Get Involved

We can all play a part in the fight to save lives by ending distracted driving.

Teens

Teens can be the best messengers with their peers, so we encourage them to speak up when they see a friend driving while distracted, to have their friends sign a pledge to never drive distracted, to become involved in their local Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter, and to share messages on social media that remind their friends, family, and neighbors not to make the deadly choice to drive distracted.

Parents

Parents first have to lead by example — by never driving distracted — as well as have a talk with their young driver about distraction and all of the responsibilities that come with driving. Have everyone in the family sign the pledge to commit to distraction-free driving. Remind your teen driver that in states with graduated driver licensing (GDL), a violation of distracted-driving laws could mean a delayed or suspended license.

Educators and Employers

Educators and employers can play a part, too. Spread the word at your school or workplace about the dangers of distracted driving. Ask your students to commit to distraction-free driving or set a company policy on distracted driving.

Make Your Voice Heard

If you feel strongly about distracted driving, be a voice in your community by supporting local laws, speaking out at community meetings, and highlighting the dangers of distracted driving on social media and on your local op-ed pages.