Accidents caused by distracted driving are particularly tragic, because of how avoidable they are.
If all drivers kept in mind that every time they pick up their phone to take a call or send a text message, they are simultaneously endangering their own and others' lives, accidents may be less prone to happen. Unfortunately, the casualness of a call or text misleadingly prompts drivers to think themselves the rare exception.
Below are some facts which illustrate the reality.
What classifies as "distracted driving"?
Driving while performing any other activity which takes your attention away, for any period of time, from the task of driving.
What are the types of distracted driving?
Distracted driving behaviors can be divided into three categories.
- Visual - Distractions that take your eyes off the road.
- Manual - Distractions that take your hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive - Distractions that take your mind off the task of driving.
Examples include eating while driving, talking on the phone while driving, listening to the radio, and texting. The more types that occur, the more potentially dangerous a situation you're in.
21% of all crashes (1.1 million) involved people talking on cell phones, either with or without hand-free functionality.
3% of all crashes (160,000) involved texting.
24% of the crashes in 2010 involved cell phones.
In a study conducted by AAA where cameras were installed in cars for 6 months at a time, they were able to capture 52 different teenagers for a total of 7858 usable video clips.
In these clips they say that 47% of the distracted drivers looked away from the road, an average of 1.5 seconds, 12% for 4 or more seconds.
A car moving 55 mph will travel 100 yards (the length of a football field) in approximately 4 seconds.
Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
According to a PEW study, in 2012:
- 3092 people were killed in crashes with a distracted driver (8-9/day)
- 416,000 people were injured in accidents where the driver was reportedly distracted
- 11% of all divers under the age of 20 years old involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the accident
(Sources: National Safety Council, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Distraction.gov)