3,477. Think about that number for a minute. We’re talking about fatalities here. In a single year. It’s more than the number of casualties caused by the 9/11 attack. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), that number is about average when it comes to annual deaths resulting from distracted driving.
Distracted driving can be defined as any other activity that takes a person’s attention from driving. While texting or talking on a phone are common culprits, the bottom line is that any and all activities other than driving that you engage in while driving can become a distraction that leads to a crash — and related injuries or loss of life.
The Worst Activity To Do While Driving
While texting certainly isn’t the only cause of distracted driving, it is definitely an alarming one, accounting for 1 out of every 4 motor vehicle collisions, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Consider that you need to take your eyes off the road for at least 5 seconds to send or read a text, and you’ll begin to understand the issue. If you’re going 55 mph, sending or reading a single text is the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field — with your eyes completely closed! Videos like this one (at the bottom of this page) are definitely raising awareness, but not nearly enough.
Other Causes of Distracted Driving
Cell phones aren’t the only issue, and texting isn’t the only way cell phones can be a problem. Cell phones can also be distracting when used for talking, navigating, taking photos, or checking social media. In addition to cell phones, drivers can be distracted by talking to others in the vehicle, grooming, eating or drinking, passing items to children, or changing settings on the stereo, thermostat, or a navigation device.
Your Role in Preventing Distracted Driving
By September 2017, texting while driving was made illegal for all drivers in every state except three (Arizona, Missouri, and Montana), and by mid-2018, cell phone use while driving was made illegal for all drivers in at least 18 states. But legislation isn’t enough. You can complement these efforts by doing your part; and you truly can play an important role in lessening the impact of distracted driving — and even saving lives!
Here are some simple steps which you can take:
1. As a citizen, you can raise awareness by posting on social media and discussing the statistics related to distracted driving with those in your circle of influence.
2. As a driver, you can model avoiding cell phone use and avoiding other distracting activities while driving.
3. As a passenger, you can speak up when you witness distracted driving.
4. As an employee or employer, you can suggest or Implement an Employer Policy banning cell phone use while driving.
5. As a parent, you can distribute and require all drivers in your household to sign a Family Contract stating that no one will use a cell phone while driving.
The Nicholas Insurance Agency is a family owned business serving the York county, Pennsylvania region. Offering exclusively Allstate insurance products, the Nicholas Agency provides auto, homeowners, rental and landlord insurance as well as life & disability, recreational vehicle, motorcycle and personal liability insurance. For more information, visit our two York, PA locations at Westgate Plaza or York Marketplace or call us at (717) 764-2024.