Distracted driving impacts our roadways
By: Rob Baquera, Public Information Officer, Roseville Police Department
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the latest data on distracted driving reveals:
- More than 400,000 motorists were injured in accidents caused by distracted driving and 2,800 deaths occurred as a result.
- Drivers reported being distracted 30% more often than when asked a year before.
- Distracted driving spikes at night between 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm.
- Distracted driving was a reported factor in 8.1% of fatal motor vehicle crashes.
- 42% of high school students in the U.S. admitted that they text or email while driving.
- Roughly 20% of injuries occurring in car accident crashes involve distracted driving.
- Drivers are distracted by their phones at least 10% of their driving time.
A ringing cell phone, fighting kids, or a spilling coffee cup: no one is immune from distractions. The average car weighs around 5000 pounds. When you mix distractions and a vehicle traveling down the road, you get distracted driving. Distracted driving can occur when something diverts your attention from the task of safe and attentive driving.
According to the Center for Disease Control – Injury Center, there are three primary types of distractions:
Mental or cognitive – when a driver’s mind is focused on something besides driving. These can include talking to another passenger, thinking about something that is upsetting, road rage, daydreaming, or being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Visual – when a driver looks at something other than what is ahead on the road. These can include looking for items on the floor of the car, checking and adjusting your GPS, changing the radio station, adjusting your temperature controls, taking in the view, or doing your makeup, and, of course, texting or dialing on your cellphone.
Manual – when one or both hands are taken off the wheel. These can include eating and drinking, adjusting your child's seatbelt, smoking, searching through your purse or wallet, or turning knobs in your car.
There are things you can do to ensure you are driving as safely as possible. Here are some simple ways to minimize driving distractions:
- Keep your eyes on the road.
- Pull over to read directions.
- Put your phone in “Do Not Disturb” mode.
- Keep your phone out of reach.
- Make all adjustments before driving.
- Don’t reach for items while driving.
- Avoid phone calls, even hands-free.
- Stay focused on the road.
- Keep your emotions in check.
Distracted driving is a major cause of car-related injuries. Complacency can be a huge factor. Many accidents happen near or around your home due to your familiarity with the surroundings. Do your best to stay focused on the task of driving safely and you will be able to respond more quickly, be better positioned to think clearly when needing to respond, and likely spot a distraction before it becomes a problem.