Distracted Driving Remains a Focus for Driver Safety Programs
Distracted driving, defined by Distraction.gov as “Any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving,” continues to be an area of focus for the U. S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In 2014, 431,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, and 10 percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old that were involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the accidents, says the NHTSA. Distraction-affected crashes remain a constant area of focus for governmental awareness and research campaigns because the percentage of people involved in these types of crashes has remained relatively constant, says the NTHSA.
There were a total of 1,648,000 vehicle accidents in 2014 that resulted in an injury, and 297,000, or 18 percent of them, involved distracted drivers. From 2010 to 2014, the percentage of distraction-affected accidents held steady in the 17 to 18 percent range.
Of the 297,000 distraction-affected accidents in 2014, 22,000 of them, or 8 percent, were reported to involve cell phone use. In an effort to help reduce the chances for distracted driving, consider avoiding these distractions:
- 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
Both drivers and passengers can play role in reducing distracted driving. Drivers may consider handing over the management of smartphone apps for traffic and maps to passengers, and try to establish some basic road rules for passengers to help limit other driving distractions.
Originally published May 3, 2011.