Everyone is guilty at some point of distracted driving. Distracted driving includes much more than just texting. These days we multitask anyway we can. Women may put on makeup while driving into the office or you may read an email from work on your phone. Every time you take your attention away from driving a vehicle you are a distracted driver. Distracted Driving is one of the leading cause of auto accidents in the united states.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is defined as any activity that will divert one’s attention away from driving a vehicle. Many of these distractions can be remedied just by paying more attention to what you are doing instead of the radio, make up, cell phone, or climate controls.
Distracted driving related accidents and the cause
- Looked but did not see-Driver paying attention to driving but does not see relevant vehicle, object, etc.
- By other Occupant-Distracted by occupant in driver’s vehicle; includes conversing or looking at other occupant
- Moving Object in Vehicle-Distracted by moving object in driver’s vehicle; includes dropped object, moving pet, insect, cargo.
- Talking or Listening to cell phone– includes talking or listening on a “hands-free” or Bluetooth enabled phone
- While Manipulating cell phone -Dialing or text messaging on cell phone or any wireless email device; any manual button/control actuation on phone qualifies
- Other cell phone-Used when the police report indicated the driver is distracted from the driving task due to cellular phone involvement, but none of the specified codes are applicable (e.g., reaching for cellular phone, etc.). This code is also applied when specific details regarding cellular phone distraction/usage are not provided.
- While adjusting audio, radio, or climate controls-While adjusting air conditioner, heater, radio, cassette, using the radio, using the cassette or CD mounted into vehicle
- While using other controls or components in Vehicle-Manipulating a control in the vehicle including adjusting headlamps, interior lights, controlling windows, door locks, mirrors, seats, steering wheels, on-board navigational devices, etc.
- Reaching or using object brought into vehicle-Radar detector, CDs, razors, music portable CD player, headphones, a navigational device, a laptop or tablet PC, DVD
- Distracted by outside person, object, or event-Animals on roadside or previous crash, non-traffic related signs. Do not use when driver has recognized object/event and driver has taken evasive action
- Eating or Drinking-Eating or drinking or actively related to these actions
- Smoking-Smoking or involved in activity related to smoking
- Lost in thought or daydreaming-Used when the driver is not completely attentive to driving because he/she is thinking about items other than the driving task.
- Careless/Inattentive-Used exclusively when “careless/inattentive” or “inattentive/careless” are noted in case materials as one combined attribute
Text Messaging and Email
Text messaging, sending, and reading email requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction. Smartphone ownership is growing. In 2011, 52 percent of drivers reported owning a smartphone, and by 2014 that number had grown to 80 percent. The greatest increases in smartphone ownership are among adults age 40 and older.
Distracted Driving Injuries
In 2013, an estimated 2,313,000 people were injured in motor vehicle traffic accidents. The number of people injured in distraction affected accidents in 2013 was estimated at 424,000 (18% of all the injured people). An estimated 34,000 people were injured in 2013 in crashes involving cell phone use or other cell phone-related activities( texting, email), 8 percent of all people injured in distraction-affected car accidents. More than half (53%) of all cell phone owners have been on the giving or receiving end of a distracted walking encounter.
Over the past four years, the estimated number of people injured in distraction-affected crashes has shown decreases and increases. The percentage of injured people in distraction-affected crashes as a portion of all injured people has remained relatively constant. As these are estimates, the changes may not be statistically significant. In 2013, there were an estimated 284,000 distraction-affected injury crashes or 18 percent of all injury crashes. In these crashes, 294,000 drivers were distracted at the time of the crashes.
Distraction Driving Crash Fatalities
In 2013, there were a total of 30,057 fatal crashes in the United States involving 44,574 drivers. As a result of those fatal crashes, 32,719 people were killed.
There were 2,910 fatal crashes that occurred on U.S. roadways that involved distraction (10% of all fatal crashes) in 2013. These crashes involved 2,959 distracted drivers, as some crashes involved more than one distracted driver. Distraction was reported for 7 percent (2,959 of 44,574) of the drivers involved in fatal crashes. In these distraction-affected crashes, 3,154 fatalities (10% of overall fatalities) occurred.
Much attention across the country has been devoted to the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. In 2013, there were 411 fatal crashes reported to have involved the use of cell phones as distractions (14% of all fatal distraction-affected crashes). For these distraction-affected crashes, the police accident report stated that the driver was talking on, listening to, or manipulating a cell phone (or other cell phone activity) at the time of the crash. Cell phones were reported as a distraction for 14 percent of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes. A total of 445 people died in fatal crashes that involved the use of cell phones or other cell phone-related activities as distractions.
Age Group of Distracted Driver Fatalities
Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash. This age group is the group with the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
The comparison of the proportion of drivers involved in fatal crashes and those involved in distraction-affected fatal crashes points to over representation of drivers under 40. For all fatal crashes, only 6 percent of the drivers in the fatal crashes were 15 to 19 years old. However, for distracted drivers in fatal crashes, 10 percent of the distracted drivers were 15 to 19 years old. And 11 percent of all the distracted drivers using cell phones were 15 to 19 years old. Similarly, drivers in their 20s are 23 percent of drivers in all fatal crashes, but are 27 percent of the distracted drivers and 38 percent of the distracted drivers that were using cell phones in fatal crashes.
Distracted driving is on the rise in the united states. Take your eyes off the road for a few seconds, your car may travel and 8th of a mile. You may be looking at your phone and reading that text, or looking out the window at a lawyer billboard. Distracted driving in many cases goes unreported because of the negative impact it brings. Insurance rates are sure to rise of an accident you have is due to distracted driving, Let us be cautious when we drive.