Distracted Driving Responsible for Large Number of Auto Accidents
How are Distracted Driving and Auto Accidents Related?
It’s hard to ignore the countless ads on TV focused on bringing awareness to the dangers of distracted driving. Despite these ads and the reality they paint, drivers continue to text and drive. A text message as “harmless” as on my way, could impact your life in such a way that you never make it to your destination. It’s become clear that texting and driving, a form of distraction, is very dangerous. Let’s take a look at some of the facts:
Accidents in 2012 which involved distraction:
• 3,328 people killed
• An estimated 421,000 people injured
• Cell phone usage was involved in 18 percent of distraction related fatalities in the US
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving includes any activity that requires the driver take his or her attention off the road to complete the task. This activity puts not only you at risk, but your passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians. Some forms of driver distraction include eating and drinking, reading, and adjusting music.
There are three categories of distracted driving: manual, visual, and cognitive. Manual distraction is when you physically take your hand off the wheel. Visual distraction is taking your eyes off the road. Cognitive distraction is mentally taking your focus off the road. Some examples of driver distractions are: phone usage, eating and drinking, conversations with passengers, reading, navigation, stereo adjustments, and grooming.
Texting While Driving
While some forms of distraction fit one or two categories, texting while driving encompasses all 3 categories. A new study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute states that drivers are 2 times as likely to be involved in an auto accident while texting. Furthermore, drivers are 3 times as likely to be involved in an accident when touching and reaching for mobile phones, dialing, and looking for information stored on their phone.
Who is at Risk?
While your chances for being involved in an auto accident increase significantly with mobile phone usage, what is shocking is how many people still continue to text while driving. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) and distraction.gov, teens and young adults are the most at risk population. 71 percent of teens and young adults say they have sent a text while driving, while 78 percent say they have read a text while driving. Drivers in their twenties account for 27 percent of fatal crashes that included distracted drivers. Although statistics show that teens and young adults are more likely to text while driving, other age groups also need to take the proper precautions and put their phones down.
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1. Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving. Distraction.gov, Retrieved November 10, 2014.
2. Virginia Tech. New VTTI study results continue to highlight the dangers of distracted driving. Retrieved November 10, 2014.
3. U.S. Department of Transportation: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts. Retrieved November 10, 2014.