April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
April, 1, 2015 -- 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. These types of distractions include:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
Because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.
Key Facts and Statistics
- The number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. An estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, this was a nine percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011.
- As of December 2013, 153.3 billion text messages were sent in the U.S. (includes PR, the Territories, and Guam) every month. (CTIA)
- Ten percent of drivers of all ages under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
- Drivers in their 20s make up 27 percent of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes. (NHTSA)
- At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. (NOPUS)
- Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times. (VTTI)
- Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. (2009, VTTI)
- Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use. (VTTI)
- A quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive. 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving. (UMTRI)
- Car crashes due to distracted driving is the number one killer of American teens. (2007, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, State Farm Insurance Study and NHTSA Study)
- More than 3,000 people were killed in 2012 in crashes that involved a distracted driver and an estimated 421,000 were injured. (NHTSA)
Text Messaging Laws
- Washington was the first state to pass a texting ban in 2007.
- Currently, 44 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. All but five have primary enforcement. Of the six states without an all driver texting ban: four prohibit text messaging by novice drivers, and three restrict school bus drivers from texting. (www.ghsa.org)
- Oklahoma currently has laws that prohibit novice drivers and school bus drivers from texting.
Text messaging while driving is a particular concern and danger because it combines three types of distraction: visual, manual and cognitive. Please drive with two hands on the wheel, two eyes on the road and keep your mind on the task of safe driving.
You Can Make a Difference
The best way to end distracted driving is to educate everyone about the danger it poses. The goal is to save lives (and money) from injury, disability and death from preventable car crashes due to texting while driving. St. John Trauma Center encourages you to practice safe and distraction-free driving any time you are on the road.
For more information on the St. John Trauma Center and its programs, please click HERE.