Distracted driving is fast becoming one of the country's biggest health concerns.
As more and more drivers text while on the road, distracted driving crashes are steadily increasing year over year. In fact, the Center For Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 9 people are killed every day in the U.S. as a result of crashes involving a distracted driver.
However, distracted driving doesn't just mean texting. You can be distracted by one of many activities.
Distracted driving means driving while not fully paying attention to the road. Many people think of distracted driving as driving while texting or talking on the phone; however, you can also be distracted by:
- Reaching for your phone.
- Changing the music.
- Using an app.
- NOTE: There are apps that help fight distracted driving by helping to keep you off your phone while you are behind the wheel.
- Checking your GPS or map.
- Taking a photo.
- Checking email or posting to social media sites.
- Eating and drinking.
- Putting on makeup/grooming.
Even talking to a passenger in your car can be a distraction. You are distracted ANY TIME your mind and/or your eyes are off the road.
Distracted driving is all too common. Think about your daily commute. How many times have you looked over and seen someone looking down at his phone?
Even if it's just for a brief text, the results can be deadly. Consider the following statistics:
- When you send a text, you take your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds. That's the time it takes to drive the length of a football field going 55 MPH! (U.S. Department of Transportation).
- At any moment during the daylight hours, about 660,000 drivers are handling cell phones or other electronic devices while driving in the U.S. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
- You are 3 times more likely to get into an accident when distracted driving by manipulating a mobile device (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute).
- 20% of teen drivers and 10% of parents say they have extended conversation with text or email when they drive (University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute).
You can easily be distracted while driving. Today, it seems like there's always something to look at other than the road. It's tempting to reach for your phone when it rings or buzzes, or to take a quick look at your GPS, but those actions can cost you your life or cause you to injure or kill someone else.
Always think about whether it's worth it. Is the text message you're about to send worth an injury or death?
If you must make a call, send a text message, check a map, etc., pull over to the side of the road first.
Don't let a distraction turn deadly. Take the distracted driving pledge today.