Driving is a serious responsibility that should not be taken lightly – and, when that responsibility is shirked, the responses can be devastating. This is one of the reasons why distracted driving is such a serious problem. Defined by the CDC as driving while engaging in any manual, cognitive, or visual activity that proves a distraction. To put it a bit more simply, distracted driving means doing anything that takes your mind or eyes off of the road or your hands from the steering wheel. Some more concrete examples of distracted driving include:
- Talking on the Phone
- Looking for Directions on the Phone
- Applying Makeup
- Talking to a Passenger
- Looking for Something in the Glove Box
Out of the above, which is by no means an exhaustive list, perhaps the most serious issue is texting. Texting is an activity that initially seems fairly harmless. This is especially true if you are only responding to a “short” text. It is important to understand, however, that regardless of the length of time you spend texting, your eyes, hands, and mind are all removed from driving in the process.
What are the results of texting and other forms of distracted driving? Well, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2015 alone 3,477 people driving while distracted ended up in a fatal accident or situation. Additionally, 67% of those victims were between the ages of 16 and 19.
Leading Cause of Death for Adolescents
According to numbers released by Allstate Insurance, one in two drivers said that they texted and drove. This comes from a poll conducted over three years (2013-2016) with 7,600 participants. Of those respondents, 76% also stated that they had either below average or average knowledge regarding the dangers of texting and driving. It should also be noted that as many as 66% of respondents also admitted to talking on the phone while driving. And while the majority of drivers surveyed admitted to distracted driving habits, even more actively disapprove of them, according to a poll funded by ATT: 95% of drivers surveyed disapproved of driving while distracted, but 71% of them also admitted to using smartphones while driving.
Why go into all of this? Well, distracted driving happens to be the leading cause of death for adolescents from the ages of 16 and 19. With so many people losing their lives at such a young age, it is important to really understand just how common distracted driving is, and how big the draw can be. Even amongst individuals who disapprove of it in theory, many of them are engaging in distracted driving behaviors.
In order to combat these distressing facts, let’s take a look at some risk factors that actually increase the risk of teen fatalities.
- Tailgating and Speeding
- Failing to Understand the Dangers of Driving
- Failing to Accurately Identify Dangerous Situations
- Not Wearing a Seat Belt
- Weekend Drives
- Drinking and Driving
It is important to keep the above in mind and make sure that your loved ones, of any age, understand the risk factors. This is perhaps especially true as, according to a Bloomberg study released in 2017, car accident fatalities are actually on the rise. It is suspected that the main cause of this is an increased rate of use of smartphones while driving.
Have you been injured while driving thanks to the distracted driving of another? The attorneys of Frederick & Hagle can help! Contact us today for a free consultation at 800.642.1227.