The High Price of Distracted Driving

transportation and vehicle concept - man using phone while driving the car

As of April 22nd, 2019, Arizona became the 48th state to ban texting while driving.  According to a study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,450 people were killed in distracted driving-related vehicle accidents in 2016, meaning 9% of all the fatal crashes this year involved distracted driving; and 14% of these crashes involved a fatality.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is anything that diverts your attention away from driving.  A few examples are:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Talking or texting on a cellphone
  • Fiddling with a stereo, navigation or entertainment system
  • Talking with someone in the vehicle
  • Putting on make-up
  • Grabbing something off the floor or backseat

The same study found that texting and driving is six times more dangerous than driving intoxicated. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

What can we do?

Parents: Lead by example; talk with children about distracted driving and the consequences; sign a family pledge not to drive distracted.

Teens: Speak up when they see a friend or peer driving distracted; have friends sign a pledge; share message on social media.

Educators: Remind students about the dangers of distracted driving. Post posters and hand out materials relating to distracted driving.

Employers:  Institute a company policy restricting texting, eating or any other form of distracted driving while operating company vehicles or while using their own vehicle for company business.

 

 

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