By now we have all heard & seen 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.
According to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), 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. I have to say, I agree with their statements.
I started doing some research to find out statistics on distracted driving... Wondering, is texting the highest reported distraction or is talking on the phone just as dangerous? Once I started doing more research I was shocked at the findings, so much so, that I wanted to share this with our community and hope it reaches all drivers and future drivers of Florida and the United States as a whole.
Did you know, during daylight hours, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. That creates huge potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes.
Here are some stats courtesy of NHTSA: These stats are from a 2016 study - distracted driving has increased in the past two years. Let these numbers really sink in and then ask yourself, is that text or call really worth potentially losing everything including your or someone else's life?
- Nine percent (9%) of fatal crashes in 2016 were reported as distraction-affected crashes.
- Six percent (6%) of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.
- Nine percent (9%) of drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the times of the fatal crashes.
- In 2016, there were 562 non-occupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, and others) killed in distraction-affected crashes.
- In 2016, 70 percent (70%) of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes were male, as compared to 74 percent of drivers in all fatal crashes.
- Hand-held cell phone use while driving is highest among 15- to 29-year-old drivers.
- 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 2012.
Here is a Link to the NHTSA/NOPUS Driver Electronic Device Use in 2016 Research Note
Here is a Link to the NHTSA/NOPUS Distracted Driving 2016 Statistical Findings Summary
Fatalities in Distraction-Affected Crashes:
In 2016, there was a total of 34,439 fatal crashes in the United States involving 51,914 drivers. As a result of those fatal crashes, 37,461 people were killed.
Much attention across the country has been focused on the dangers of using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. In 2016, there were 444 fatal crashes reported to have involved cell phone use as a distraction (14% of all fatal distraction-affected crashes). For these distraction-affected crashes, the police crash report stated that the driver was talking on, listening to, or engaged in some other cell phone activity at the time of the crash. A total of 486 people died in fatal crashes that involved cell-phone-related activities as distractions.
To prevent tragedies due to distracted driving, motorists are urged to:
- Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
- Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
- Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task.
- Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are the best defense against unsafe drivers.
All pedestrians and bicyclists should focus on their surroundings and not on their electronic devices as well to avoid being at a higher risk of being injured due to someone else's negligence.
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Click here to view 2016 Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview
Click here to view 2016 Quick Facts
Resources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration & US DOT