April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from the task of driving. Using cell phones and other electronic devices, adjusting various settings for the car or radio or navigation system, eating, drinking, shaving, disciplining your kids in the back…all are examples of common distractions while driving.
Distracted driving is a real issue. Distraction should be considered an “impairment” of one’s ability to drive no less dangerous than the conventional drug and alcohol impairment.
Some distracted driving statistics to consider:
- In 2011, more than 3,300 people were killed and 387,000 were injured in crashes attributed to distracted driving (AAA).
- 72% of AAA members support a ban on the use of all cell phones (hand-held and hands-free) while driving except for emergency situations.
- 11 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reportedly distracted when the accident occurred. (Pew research)
- 40 percent of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger.
- Drivers who do not go hands free are more likely (four times more likely) to sustain injuries in a crash. (Monash University)
- Text messaging increases the chance of a crash by 23 times when compared to driving without distraction. Average text takes drivers eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds which, at 55mph, means about a football field worth of driving essentially blind. (Virginia Tech. Transportation Institute)
Not much else to say. Put the devices away and distractions aside and keep your eyes on the road.
By Scott Feifer