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Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted Driving is Among the Leading Causes of Auto Accidents

Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. — U.S. Department of Transportation

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. Any activity a driver engages in that isn’t driving is a potential crash-causing distraction. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 3,179 people killed in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2014. Distraction-affected crashes represented ten percent of all fatal crashes, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle wrecks in 2014. Sadly, the age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the 15–19 age group. Ten percent of all drivers in this age group that were involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving.

THREE TYPES OF DISTRACTED DRIVING

The Department of Transportation defines the three main types of distracted driving as follows:

  • Visual — taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual — taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive — taking your mind off what you’re doing

While all distractions can endanger drivers’ safety, texting is the most alarming because it involves all three types of distraction. Research has indicated that even the use of hands-free phone conversations can cause drivers to miss visual and audio cues that could help them avoid a wreck. The National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) estimated that at a typical daylight moment in 2014, there were 587,632 passenger vehicles driven by people using hand-held cellphones.

Although the advent and increased popularity of smartphones has lead to an increase in distracted driving crashes, there are other popular activities that people take part in while driving that could a serious accident.

ACTIVITIES THAT CAUSE DISTRACTED DRIVING CRASHES

  • Using a cell phone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a PDA or navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Changing the radio station, CD, or Mp3 player.

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