How Common Is Distracted Driving?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has worked hard all month to spread the message about the dangers of distracted driving. As National Distracted Driving Awareness Month comes to a close, the group released a few more telling statistics about distracted drivers and car accidents. The statistics are intended to convince a reluctant public that focusing on safe driving is the responsibility of every driver and should not be compromised for even a moment.

According to figures released by the NHTSA, there were 212 million licenses drivers on American roads in 2011. Of those, 103 million answered phone calls while driving. An additional 50 million initiated phone calls while driving. During the day, roughly 660,000 drivers will be using an electronic device such as a cell phone at any given moment. Those numbers may explain why 2011 saw more than 3,000 deaths caused by distracted drivers and an additional 387,000 injured.

Surveys have shown that the vast majority of adults are aware that texting while driving is dangerous. That awareness has not stopped people from engaging in the dangerous behavior. Texting is dangerous for the same reason as other forms of distracted driving. It is simply not possible to split your attention between safe driving and another activity. The majority of states have no passed laws, banning text messaging while operating a motor vehicle. Fewer have adopted complete bans on the use of electronic devices by drivers. With or without a law, anyone who wishes to avoid an accident and protect themselves and others from tragedy should turn off their cell phone or place it out of reach while operating a vehicle.

Source: Transport Topics, “NHTSA Cites Widespread Use of Electronic Devices by Auto Drivers,” 11 April 2013