Distracted driving has become a significant cause of car accidents and deaths. According to the NHTSA, 3,179 people were killed in traffic accidents involving distracted drivers in 2011 alone. However, information on distracted driving before this year is limited because law enforcement agencies report accident data to NHTSA in different ways each year.
The Causes of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving, sometimes referred to as “inattentive driving,” occurs when a driver is preoccupied with other activities while driving that cause them to lose focus on driving. According to the NHTSA, these distractions include all types of manual and cognitive distractions. Common causes of distracted driving include:
- Using a cell phone while driving
- Answering phone calls
- Reading text messages
- Eating or drinking while driving
Distracted Driving: What are the Consequences?
According to the NHTSA, some degree of driver distraction is involved in 3 out of 5 accidents. When comparing the number of fatal car accidents involving distracted drivers to accidents where inattention was not a contributing cause, it is clear that distracted driving poses as significant a risk as drunk driving.
Driving while not paying attention can be far more devastating than careless or reckless driving, as an accident resulting from inattentive driving is likely to result in severe injury or death. While driver inattention is not always a factor in every accident, cell phones are becoming more common means that many drivers are distracted behind the wheel.
Distracted driving can cost you your life! One out of every five fatal car accidents was caused by distracted driving. This makes distracted driving the most common cause of car accidents, compared to other reasons such as drunk driving and excessive speed.
The Analysis Report on the Effects of Distracted Driving
In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studied accident reports from across America to understand better what types of distractions can lead to car crashes. NHTSA estimates that distracted driving may have contributed to over 500 deaths and more than 41,000 injuries in 2009. The data was collected from Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), and the General Estimates System (GES), databases containing information on all motor vehicle crashes in the United States that resulted in at least one fatality.
For crash data from 2000to 2008, fatal motor vehicle crashes were divided into those with and those without driver-reported distractions. Each distraction was then categorized by severity. The data for this study came from the National Automotive Sampling System /Crashworthiness Data System (NASS/CDS), a nationwide probability sample of police-reported crashes in the United States. This report highlights and summarizes the distracted driving information collected by NHTSA.
How to Curb Distracted Driving
The key to reducing the number of car crashes related to distracted driving is education. With a better understanding of the causes of distracted driving, drivers can learn to avoid becoming victims and encourage those around them to drive carefully.
Tips for Avoiding Distracted Driving
Move Away From Your Phone While Driving
It can be helpful to use a hands-free device or put your phone out of reach when talking on the phone while driving.
Limit This Activity To Your Free Time
Taking steps to avoid being distracted by your phone can help you focus better on the road and ultimately make your life safer.
Strengthen Your Position on This Issue
Regardless of your position in the community, you play an essential role in keeping yourself and others safe while driving by speaking out against distracted driving.
Do not let other obligations interfere with your ability to drive safely, and never get behind the wheel when you are too tired or distracted to make a responsible decision.
Look Out for Your Friends
If you notice your friends texting and driving, remind them of the risks of distracted driving so they know how dangerous it can be!
Be a Responsible Passenger
If someone else is driving your rig, make sure they know how you feel about distracted driving and that they know not to use a cell phone while driving.
Launch Social Media Campaign to Combat Distracted Driving
While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released its recommendations for curbing distracted driving, it’s important to remember that everyone plays a role in getting us safely from point A to point B.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings.
Distracted driving is not just a cell phone use issue. Drivers who are fixated on the radio, see a child in the rearview mirror, or try to select a song on their music player may not have their full attention on the road.
Change Your Attitude About Driving and Technology
In today’s society, it’s common for drivers to mix their personal and professional lives, leading to distraction. Make sure you are giving your full attention to driving when you are behind the wheel.
In today’s technological world, it’s difficult for drivers to stay focused on the road. While many drivers like to keep their cell phones within reach, others are unaware of how dangerous this can be when they are behind the wheel. Distracted driving can lead to car accidents and fatalities. Therefore, it is essential to realize that even a single moment of inattention can put you and others in danger.
Drivers need to use hands-free devices or put their cell phones out of reach, so they are not tempted to take a call while driving. If you were injured in an accident caused by distracted driving, contact our injury attorneys today. Keep in mind that you may not return to work due to your injuries and may need financial assistance to cover your daily expenses.
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