The Problem: Distracted Driving
Most drivers know that texting while driving is a dangerous behavior, but many still use their cell phones and other mobile devices when they are behind the wheel, putting themselves and others at risk. Many drivers see distracted driving* as risky when other drivers do it, but do not recognize how their own driving deteriorates.
Almost half (48.6%) of drivers say they answer incoming phone calls, and 1 of 4 drivers (23.9%) are willing to place calls on all, most, or some trips. About half (48.5%) said they never place calls while driving. Considering there are more than 210 million licensed drivers in America, slightly more than 102 million drivers were answering calls and 50 million drivers were placing calls while driving in 2012. At any given daylight moment across America, there are about 660,000 drivers using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.
Use of an electronic device while driving can distract drivers from appropriately thinking about the driving task, watching the road and the surrounding environment, and keeping their hands on the steering wheel. Texting while driving, a common activity in today’s world, involves all three types of distraction – visual, manual, and cognitive. (www.Distraction.gov)
*Distracted Driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety.
What Can We Do?
States and Communities Can:
• Enforce strong laws banning texting and hand-held cell phone use to let drivers know distracted driving is a serious safety matter.
• Conduct high-visibility enforcement campaigns of existing texting and cell phone laws using NHTSA’s Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other model. www.distraction.gov
• Publicize the results of enforcement campaigns.
• Work with partners such as advocacy groups, youth groups, schools, traffic safety agencies, law enforcement agencies, and public health agencies to continue the discussion on the dangers of distracted driving.
• Visit www.TracSafetyMarketing.gov for media material you can download.
Go to www.distraction.gov for comprehensive information about distracted driving and see Blueprint to end distracted driving.
• Adopt, publicize, and enforce company policies that prohibit employees from texting or talking on hand-held cell phones while in a company vehicle, or in a personal vehicle while using a company-issued cell phone.
• Turn of electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
• 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 other unsafe drivers.
• Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
• Make sure your community and state laws include electronic device bans in graduated driver licensing laws for young novice drivers, and make them part of your teen’s driving responsibilities.
For more information on distracted driving visit: www.distraction.gov
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration