We know there are distracted drivers out there in record numbers causing accidents. Distracted driving can stem from putting on make-up, changing a radio station, using a navigation system, eating, talking on your cell phone, and texting.
Death and injury caused by distracted drivers
The National Highway Safety and Transportation Administration (NHSTA) reports these disturbing statistics from 2015 to 2016:
- S. fatalities from traffic accidents rose 7.2% to 35,092
- Distracted driving caused 10 percent or 3,477 of those fatalities
- Fatalities from distracted driving increased 8.8 percent to 3,477 from 3,197
- Injuries from distracted driving totaled 391,000
- Approximately 660,000 drivers use their cell phones while driving
- Teens are the largest age group reported as distracted drivers in fatal crashes.
- Cell phone use is highest among 16-24 year-old
What can we do to eliminate the distracted driving epidemic?
NHSTA is campaigning to eliminate the distracted driving epidemic. They are talking to state and local police about the dangers of and about the needs to enforce existing state laws against distracted driving; they have taken to social media to warn of the dangers; and they have taken out public service announcements to make the case to drivers of the dangers of risky driving.
Part of NHSTA’s program is to show Americans how to get involved in the campaign to stop distracted driving.
- Parents: Teach your child by example and don’t use your phone to talk or to text while driving your car, especially with your children watching. Talk to your kids about the dangers of texting and driving. Tell them that sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough to cover a football field while driving at 55 mph. Have everyone in the family sign a pledge to commit to distraction-free driving, while reminding them that a violation of relevant laws could mean a delayed or suspended driver’s license.
- Teens: If you are a teen driver, never text and drive. If you are a passenger in a car with someone who is texting, tell them to stop while you are in the car. Point out the dangers to them. Share the message of distracted driving on social media. Peers listen to their peers.
- Educators and Employers: Spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving. Ask students to commit to safe driving and employers, set a company policy on distracted driving.
- Make your voice heard: Not every state in the U.S. has laws against texting and driving. Become an advocate and support bills making texting and driving illegal. Speak out at community meetings. Send a letter to your local newspapers.
Please heed the warnings of distracted driving dangers. You owe it to yourself, your passengers and to all the others who are on the road.
Group Matrix Blog: November 12, 2017 – by Sharon Bowles