The Facts about Distracted Driving
Driving under the influence isn’t the only activity that increases the likelihood of crashes. Driving while drowsy or distracted can make you up to 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident.
According to the CDC, there are three types of distracted driving:
- Visual: Visual distractions take your eyes off the road, such as using an in car navigation system.
- Manual: Manual distractions take your hands off the wheel, such as eating and drinking, or adjusting the radio.
- Cognitive: Cognitive distractions take your mind off the road, such as talking to passengers or driving without enough sleep.
But the most dangerous distractions combine these elements. Talking on your cell phone combines manual and cognitive distractions, and texting while driving combines all three.
In fact, texting and driving is one of the most dangerous distractions, increasing accident likelihood by 23 times.
- “In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.”
- According to the CDC, drivers under 20 have the highest proportion of fatalities resulting from distracted driving. They even discovered an alarming correlation between students who text while drive, and their likelihood to get in the car with an intoxicated driver. The more students text while driving, the more likely they are to ignore dangerous driving habits as passengers.
- Approximately one third of drivers have texted while driving, and three quarters have seen others do it.
Education as Prevention:
Laws are being enacted to try and reduce distracted driving, but one of the best solutions is education. Just glancing at your phone doesn’t seem like a dangerous activity, but at high speed “just a glance” can be the difference between life and death. Let’s do some numbers.
According to the CDC, one text takes your eyes off the road for approximately five seconds. At 55 MPH that’s enough time to cover a football field. That’s about 80 feet per second. A delay of half a second to glance at a phone increases your stopping distance by 40 feet.
As speed increases, margin of error decreases significantly. Minor distractions become potentially lethal.
Understand the dangers of distracted driving and coach the teen drivers in your family to be aware. It’s a matter of life and death!