Unfortunately, distracted driving is not a passing fad. It has become a trend with deadly, real consequences. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Texting and 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. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at eh time of the fatal crashes.
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. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
•The percentage of driver’s text-messaging or visibly manipulating handheld devices increased from 1.7 percent in 2013 to 2.2 percent in 2014. Since 2007, young drivers (age 16 to 24) have been observed manipulating electronic devices at higher rates than older drivers. (NHTSA)
•Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to be involved in a serious crash. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
•Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crashes. (NHTSA)
While those numbers may sound like just statistics, they’re anything but. They could be parents, 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 don’t 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 in order to keep yourself and others safe.
Yes, this is a national problem, but it also affects us right here in Williams County. Keep your mind on the road when you get behind the wheel. Don’t drive distracted.
Even little things can be big distractions when you drive. Keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Don’t drive distracted. The radio, your cell phone, food, even your friends – these all can be distractions while you’re driving.
Keep your mind on the road when you get behind the wheel. Eating while you drive can be a bigger disaster than just getting mustard on your shirt. Stay focused on the road when you get behind the wheel.
For every second your eyes aren’t on the road, you miss a lot you need to see. Keep your eyes and mind on the road when you’re driving. Don’t drive distracted.
If you don’t pay attention in class, you might fail. If you don’t pay attention when you drive, you might crash.
Don’t drive distracted. No one is immune from the dangers of distracted driving. So please remember: One text or call could wreck it all.