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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 80% of car accidents and 16% of highway deaths are the result of distracted driving. In 2010, over 3,200 fatalities and 416,000 injuries were attributed to distracted driving within the U.S.
For the most part, people are keenly aware of the dangers posed by distracted driving, yet they admittedly continue to engage in such activities. A survey asked drivers to confess to which distracted driving habits they participated in.
- 86% admit to eating or drinking while driving
- 76% admit to regularly adjusting the car stereo while driving
- 50% admit to finding and inserting CD’s while driving
- 42% admit to make calls on a cell phone while driving
- 41% admit to reading a map while driving
- 41% admit to setting and altering their GPS while driving
- 37% admit to texting while driving
- 20% admit to doing their hair while driving
- 14% admit to makeup application while driving
- 13% admit to browsing the internet while driving.
If you also find yourself engaging in these activities, remember that your safety is much more important than a temporary convenience. The snack, text, or song can wait.
What Do The Numbers Tell Us?
Now that we’ve looked at the polls, what do the actual police reports tell us? A 2003 study showed that driver inattention accounted for around 35% of all accidents, while driver distraction accounted for about 11% of accidents.
According to the study, “rubbernecking,” or driver distraction towards an outside person, object, or event, is the number one reported cause of distraction related crashes. The second most reported cause was adjusting the car’s music player, be it radio, cassette, or CD player.
Elements of Distracted Driving
There are a multitude of ways in which a driver can become distracted, and varying dimensions to that distraction. Driver distractions can be broken down into 3 categories.
- Visual – eyes off the road
- Manual – hands off the wheel
- Cognitive – mind off the drive
Activities like texting are so dangerous because they involve distractions on all three levels: visual, manual, and cognitive. Eliminating these activities will minimize your risk of being involved in an automobile collision. It is important to maintain full focus visually, manually, and cognitively.
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