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Distracted Driving: Facts and Issues

Issues connected with distracted driving are some of the year’s most important challenges. Some drivers completely ignore laws and recommendations about distracted driving because they are convinced that they can handle distractions without affecting their driving. Some drivers know that distracted driving laws and recommendations should be heeded, but sometimes they are distracted when driving. Some drivers know the importance of preventing distractions in order to drive safely, and they eliminate every possible source of distraction when driving. Which group sounds like you when driving?distracted driver - Altizer Law PC

Distracted Driving by the Numbers

  1. Every day there are 3,287 fatalities due to car crashes. On average, 9 of the daily fatalities are related to distracted driving.
  2. Fatalities related to distracted driving can be completely eliminated.
  3. Distracted driving is involved in roughly one-fourth of all motor vehicle crash fatalities.
  4. Teens are the largest age group to report that they were distracted at the time of a crash.
  5. Vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death among American teens.
  6. Teens aged 16 – 19
  7. Distracted driving affects drivers in every age group.
  8. Distracted driving is reportedly responsible for more than 58% of all teen crashes.
  9. In 2015, distracted driving-related accidents caused 391,000 injuries.
  10. In 2015, distracted driving was cited as a major factor in 3,477 traffic deaths.
  11. The true number of crashes, injuries and fatalities tied to distracted drivers are greater by far than reported.
  12. Distracted driving follows the same psychological pattern as drunk driving. When drivers get away with driving distracted, they continue to drive distracted until they are involved in a crash or are caught.
  13. More than 80% of all drivers admit to dangerous driving behaviors, including changing clothes, steering with a foot, painting nails, shaving, eating.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) identifies three types of distractions:

  • Visual Tasks – checking a navigation system, looking at a map, reading a message on a cellphone.
  • Manual Tasks – drinking a hot beverage from a cup, changing the radio station, eating.
  • Cognitive Tasks – talking on the phone, talking with other people in the vehicle, texting, reading a text message.
  • Adjusting climate and audio controls accounts for 2% of traffic fatalities caused by distracted driving.
  • Being distracted by others riding in your vehicle accounts for 5% of distracted driving-related fatalities.
  • When a teen has one passenger in the car, the risk of involvement in a fatal crash doubles. Driving with companions is a distraction that leads to 5% of distracted driving fatalities.
  • The leading contributor to distracted driving is a driver being lost in thought or losing focus on driving. This accounts for 62% of distracted driving crashes.
  • 80% of car crashes are attributed to a driver being distracted or not paying attention.
  • Other contributing factors:
    • Needing to go to the bathroom an holding it while driving
    • Cell phone use
    • Eating, reading and applying makeup
    • Driving with a pet passenger
  • Eating or drinking while driving (especially hot liquids and foods that can disassemble) increases your risk of becoming involved in a fatal crash by 80%.
  • There is no difference in the cognitive distraction of using a cellphone whether it is handheld or hands-free.

If we are to be perfectly honest, most of us have engaged in some behavior while driving that qualifies as distracted driving. Many of us can remember a time when these behaviors were the norm for drivers. Now we know the danger attached to these behaviors. It is incumbent upon each of us to stop distracted driving ourselves and to stop distracted driving in our teenagers.

We had a mild first taste of winter this morning. It should encourage each of us to understand how winter weather affects stopping time and distance and makes driving more dangerous. Winter and distracted driving will never be a good combination.

If you or a loved one is injured in a crash with a distracted driver and through no fault of your own, call Altizer Law, P.C. Bettina Altizer and her expert team have been helping people injured by the wrongdoing or negligence of other drivers for more than 30 years. They are trusted to obtain the largest financial compensation allowable under Virginia law. They know that when you are trying to rebuild a life, it’s about the money.

Data source: TeenSafe