April is distracted driving awareness month so I thought I would take this time to talk about distracted driving, share some facts, and promote safety on the roads.
Distracted driving is any activity that could divert the drivers attention away from the primary task of driving. Distracted driving includes things such as:
- Talking on the phone
- Eating or drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Using a navigation system
- Adjusting the radio
This is the leading cause of death among American teenagers. When it comes to distracted driving, teens are the most likely to text and talk while driving. Many teens will say they don't think texting and driving is a big deal. We all seem to have this "it won't happen to me" mindset which is an incredibly dangerous mindset to have sometimes. Texting while driving takes away the drivers' visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the road.
- In 2013, 3,154 people in America were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
- 10% of drivers of all ages under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.
- 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.
- 5 seconds is the minimum amount of time a person's eyes are taken from the road while texting.
- Texting while driving makes a person 24 times more likely to be involved in an accident.
I will admit, I have texted while driving before. I never realized the dangers of this simple action until I came face-to-face with the harsh realities of distracted driving. I have one friend who died in a car accident because she was texting. She ran off the road, overcorrected, and the vehicle flipped. Another friend of mine was in a coma for 2 months because of a car accident due to distracted driving. She lived, but it took months for her to fully recover. She wasn't paying attention, ran off of the road, and hit a tree. The dangers are real and it can happen to anyone. This is why it's so important to drive safely and keep your attention on the road at all times.
If you're a passenger in a vehicle and the driver is texting or otherwise distracted, please speak up and tell them to turn their attention back to the road. It's important not only for your own life, but for the lives and wellbeing of others.