In an age where 95 percent of Americans own cell phones, distracted driving means more than just fiddling with the radio or trying to calm down screaming toddlers in the back seat. Distracted driving is a killer – that’s a fact. In 2015 alone, it claimed 3,477 lives and injured more than 391,000 people.
Distracted driving is defined as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” It’s no surprise that texting and cell phone use top the list of causes. Here are some other examples of distracted driving:
- Using cell phones and smartphones
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigational system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting the radio / CD player / MP3 player
The harsh reality is that as cell phone and smartphone use has grown, so has the number of deaths and injuries related to distracted driving. We’ve compiled some key facts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to help you learn about distracted driving and do your part in preventing it.
Stats About Distracted Driving
- At any given time in the United States, some 660,000 drivers are using their cell phones.
- At the time of a crash, teens were the largest age group reported to be distracted.
- A recent survey found that one-third of drivers admitted to texting while driving and three-quarters of drivers say they’ve seen others do it.
- 10 percent of fatal crashes, 15 percent of injury crashes, and 14 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2015 were reported as crashes related to distraction.
- 9 people are killed and more than 1000 are injured every day in the U.S. in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.
What’s Being Done About It
In the U.S., most states have laws in place that try to stop texting while driving. Some states have gone beyond that, implementing stricter laws. For example, in 2017, Iowa enacted a law that allows police to pull over distracted drivers simply for being on their phones. Previously, a person needed to commit a driving infraction before they could be pulled over for texting.
Other states, like Arkansas, North Dakota and Washington have massively increased fines for distracted driving.
Arizona, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Vermont are focusing on laws that protect teen drivers, like adding “distracted driving dangers” to drivers education curriculums and passing laws that prohibit the use of cell phones in school zones.
Bottom line? Ditch the electronics! Roll down the windows! Feel the wind in your hair (if you can!) Listen for rattles or squeaks your car might be making–and if you hear any, schedule an appointment at your local Sears Auto Center for a diagnosis and service you can trust!