Distracted driving is a national epidemic. More than 3,000 people are killed and another 387,000 people are injured every year in crashes involving a driver whose full attention isn’t on the road. Whether it is sending a text message or putting on makeup, distracted driving puts lives at risk.
Consider these facts:
- At any moment during the day, about 660,000 drivers in the United States are using phones or other electronic devices.
- Of the drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes, 11 percent reported they were distracted.
- Drivers who are texting are 23 times more likely to get in a crash or near-collision.
- Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. If a car is traveling at 55 mph, that’s the length of a football field.
Distracted driving cuts across all age groups. A recent survey by Safe Kids Worldwide and American Baby magazine found that 78 percent of moms with children under the age of 2 acknowledge they have talked on the phone while driving. A quarter of those moms surveyed also said they have sent texts or checked emails while behind the wheel.
Distractions go beyond just texting or talking on a phone. They include:
- Eating and drinking
- Reading, including maps
- Talking to passengers
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio or CD player
A law took effect in Florida on Oct. 1, 2013, banning texting while driving. It allows police to pull over drivers who are texting if another violation, such as speeding or running a stop sign, takes place.
Drivers need to make sure they are free from distractions and encourage family members and friends to do the same. If you need to make a call or text, pull over and park in a safe place.SOURCES:
• Safe Kids Worldwide
• American Baby magazine