Distracted driving is a very dangerous problem throughout the United States. In 2011 NHTSA reported over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes. Distracted driving is most prevalent among young adults. It is reported that 16% of all drivers under 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. It is no surprise with all the love for technology and social media this age group is the largest percentage of drivers who are distracted.  In fact teen drivers are more likely than any other age group to be involved in a fatal distracted crash.

There are 3 main types of distracted driving; visual, manual and cognitive. Visual distractions are taking your eyes off the road to look at such things as your phone, watching a video, looking at GPS or reading a map. Manual distractions are taking your hands off the wheel to text, eat/drink or adjust the radio. Cognitive is taking your mind off of what you are doing, by talking to other passengers or on your phone, sleepiness or any other mental distraction.

Out of all the three different forms of distractions and activities text messaging is the most dangerous as it requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver. Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off of the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. This is equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field blind, if you were driving at 55mph as most people do on a highway. Drivers are three times more likely to get into a crash by engaging in such visual-manual tasks.  In fact of all American teens 40% say they have been in a car where the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger.

At any given moment there are over 800,000 vehicles driving in the U.S while using a cell phone in some capacity. This results in a 23% increase of potential accidents on all roads. State laws throughout the country are helping to enforce a no cell phone/texting driving policy. These have helped in the effort but there are still many accidents occurring. How else can we help to solve this problem? The best way to end distracted driving is through education and learning the dangers. The United States Department of Transportation have held two summits on the topic, along with programs such as ATT’s texting and driving campaign “It Can Wait”,  which is now working with ABC Family and a variety of their show’s stars to help educate teen drivers. There was also a texting and driving episode famously mentioned on “Glee”. The continued effort through media is helping to bring awareness to not only teens but across all ages.

By sharing these facts we can help to save lives. For more information, or if you were in an accident due to a Distracted Driver contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in your local area. Tiano O’Dell PLLC (http://www.westvirginiapersonalinjurylawyer.net/) offers information and resources to individuals who are in need of legal representation in the West Virginia area for those who have been hurt by drunk drivers. 

(All facts brought to you thanks to NHTSA’s www.distraction.gov)