Last year 3,500 people died and over 390,000 people were been injured due to distracted driving. Thousands of lives lost, families broken and people hurt because of sending texts, checking emails, eating or drinking in the car and really doing anything other than driving. The worst part of the statistic, other than it’s incremental rise each year, is that each one of these deaths and injuries are completely preventable.
According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) Distracted Driving is:
“…any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.
Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.”
According to the NHTSA, During daytime hours, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. That creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes.
And if killing or injuring someone isn’t enough to have you put down your phone while you drive, it’s also illegal to do so. According to Penndot: “The law prohibits as a primary offense any driver from using an Interactive Wireless Communication Device (IWCD) to send, read or write a text-based communication while his or her vehicle is in motion.” So if you text and drive you will be pulled over and fined.
So what can we do? There really is only one thing we can do and it’s the most obvious: pay attention! Stop feeling like your car is a safe extension of your couch and treat it as seriously as you should. Watch the road while you drive and thousands of lives can be saved from death or injury. It’s really as simply as that.