Montpelier, OH -Unfortunately, distracted driving is not a passing fad. It has become a trend with deadly, real consequences.With ever-increasing demands on personal and professional time in today’s busy society, learning to juggle multiple tasks at once is something we all face daily.
As a result, a new traffic safety epidemic has emerged on America’s roadways that demand immediate attention: distracted driving.
For anyone who thinks they can talk on their phone, text, apply make-up, or do any other distracting activity while driving, it’s time for a crash course in reality from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
•Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. At any given moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. Distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic on America’s roadways.
•In 2018, there were 2,841 people killed and an estimated 400,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Distracted driving is an especially problematic trend among younger drivers.
In fact, 8% 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 time of the fatal crashes. (NHTSA)
While those numbers may sound like just statistics, they are anything but. They could be parents, teens, children, neighbors, and friends from right here in Williams County. There are too many sad tales of deaths and injuries that could have been prevented had drivers been paying attention to the road instead of someone or something else.
So, why do so many people participate in this dangerous behavior? With more technology now than ever, driver distractions have risen to unprecedented levels. We live in a world where people expect instant, real-time information 24 hours a day, and those expectations do not stop just because someone gets behind the wheel. Drivers still do not realize – or choose to ignore – the danger they create when they take their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel, and their focus off driving.
People often say, “I can do two things at once. I’ve memorized where the numbers are on my phone, so I don’t have to look.” Or, “Sending or reading one text is pretty quick – that should be okay.” They couldn’t be more wrong.
For those who think they can do two things at once, think about this: According to a 2014 special article in the New England Journal of Medicine, the risk of a crash or near-crash among novice drivers increased with the performance of many secondary tasks, including texting, and dialing cell phones. Driving is an activity that requires your full attention and focus to keep yourself and others safe.
Yes, this is a national problem, but it also affects us right here in northwest Ohio. No one is immune from the dangers of distracted driving. So please remember: One text or call could wreck it all.