Preventing Distracted Driving

Mar 1, 2023 | Business Insurance

Distracted driving includes eating, putting on makeup, and texting while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes in 2012, killing 3,328 people.

The NHTSA considers texting to be the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention. While texting, your eyes are typically taken off the road for five seconds. Reaching for a phone, dialing, texting, and other mobile device activities can triple your risk of being in a car accident. 

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Types of distracting driving

Distractions include anything that diverts your attention away from driving. Distracted driving includes sending a text message, talking on a cell phone, using a navigation system, and eating while driving. Any of these distractions can put you, your passengers, and others on the road in danger.

Distractions are classified into three types:

Visual: taking your gaze away from the road

Manual: removing your hands from the steering wheel

Cognitive: diverting your attention away from driving

Which group most likely do Prevented distracted driving

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Teen and young adult drivers

Among fatal crashes in the United States involving distracted drivers in 2019:

Drivers aged 15-20 were more likely to be distracted than drivers aged 21 and older.

9% of these younger drivers were distracted at the time of the crash.

According to a 2019 survey3 of high school students in the United States, 39% of those who drove in the previous 30 days texted or emailed while driving on at least one of those days.

Texting or emailing while driving was more common among older students than among younger students and it was more common among White students (44%) than among Black (30%) or Hispanic (35%).

Texting or emailing while driving was just as common among students with mostly As or Bs as it was among those with mostly Cs, Ds, or Fs. 

Students who texted or emailed while driving were also more likely to report other potentially dangerous transportation behaviors. They were more likely to not always wear a seat belt; more likely to ride with an alcoholic driver; and more likely to drive after drinking alcohol. 

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Tips for Staying Focused on the Road

Almost everyone is guilty of distracted driving in some way. Distracted drivers can be found almost anywhere: the cell phone socialite, the in-car iPod DJ, the high-fashion cosmetician, and the 3-course meal king or queen.

Here are a few suggestions to help you drive more safely:

Only use your cell phone in an emergency.

 A cell phone should only be used in an emergency while driving. Even so, it’s best to pull over to the right shoulder safely to make a call. Even hands-free devices can cause you to miss critical visual and audio cues required to avoid a collision.

Cell phone social conversations should not be carried on while driving. 

Remember that it is illegal in an increasing number of jurisdictions. You could get a ticket and be fined.

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If you feel drowsy, pull over.

 Drowsiness nearly quadruples the risk of a car accident. According to a government study, 37% of US drivers have nodded off or fallen asleep at least once during their driving careers. If you’re tired, pull over; don’t try to get home faster.

Limit the number of passengers and the level of activity inside the vehicle

. Most states’ graduated driver licensing laws forbid teens from having teen passengers in the car with them during their first few months of driving alone. Driving with friends can create a dangerous driving environment because inexperienced drivers are more concerned with their friends than with the road.

Eat nothing while driving.

 Driving while distracted is not an excuse. While eating breakfast on the way to work or school may appear to save time, it also means you are less attentive to the drivers around you. Food spills are a significant source of distraction.

Multitasking should be done outside of the car.

 Everyone spends a lot of time in their cars, and it may seem like the ideal time to do things like call friends, listen to music, or even text message. Do not attempt it. Pay attention to the road and the drivers around you. Before you start driving, make sure everything is in order.

Distracted driving is preventable

What motorists can do

While driving, do not multitask. Adjust your mirrors, listen to music, eat, make a phone call, or read a text or email before or after your trip, not during.

Apps external icon can assist you in avoiding cell phone use while driving. Consider using an app to help you avoid distractions while driving.

What can passengers do?

If you are a passenger in a car with a distracted driver, speak up. Request that the driver concentrate solely on driving.

Reduce driver distractions by assisting with navigation or other tasks.

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What can parents do

Discuss the rules and responsibilities of driving with your teen or young adult. Share your experiences and statistics about teen/young adult drivers and distracted driving.

Remind them that driving is a skill that necessitates the driver’s undivided attention.

Stress that texts and phone calls can wait until you arrive at your destination.

Familiarize yourself with your state’s graduated driver licensing system external icon and make sure your teen follows its rules.

Understand your state’s distracted driving laws external icon. Many states’ distracted driving laws include novice driver provisions. Discuss the dangers of distracted driving with your teen, and make yourself and your teen aware of your state’s penalties for talking or texting while driving.

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Set penalties for distracted driving. Fill out the CDC’s Parent-Teen Driving Agreement icon together to start a safe driving discussion and establish your family’s road rules. Your family’s road rules may be more stringent than state law. You can also get involved in your teen’s driving by using these simple and effective methods: Parents are crucial. Set a good example by driving with your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.

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