While the majority of drivers are aware that driving while distracted is a bad idea, the reality is that many of them still do so. They may want to place a phone call, listen to a different radio station or get a bite to eat while they’re on the road. Doing so, however, puts them and others at risk of serious injuries.
In 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 8.5% of fatal crashes had distracted driving as one of the factors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that over 2,800 deaths and 400,000 injuries occur because of distractions annually, as well. The CDC estimates that most years will result in around 3,500 deaths linked to distractions, approximately eight deaths each day.
Why is distracted driving so prominent?
Distracted driving doesn’t have a place on the roads, yet it commonly occurs. Distractions are varied. While some people may no longer look at their electronics, they can still get distracted by their passengers or eating behind the wheel. Similarly, someone might stay away from anything that takes their hands off the wheel but get distracted by someone else showing them an image on their phone.
Why are distractions so common? Largely because they’re so readily available. Distractions can range from eating and drinking behind the wheel to rubbernecking as you pass a crash site, making it difficult for anyone to truly avoid distractions on the road.
What can people do to stay more focused?
Better focus could help save lives. People can stay focused on the road by:
- Remembering to set aside their electronics
- Parking if they need to eat something
- Waiting until their destination to answer a phone call or send a text
- Talking to passengers about manners inside the vehicle, such as not yelling or fighting
- Changing a radio station at the start of the drive or while taking a break
Distractions are a way of life, but that doesn’t mean they have to take a life. Drivers have the choice to refocus on the road and can do so to help protect themselves and others.