Texting deemed the most dangerous of distracted driving behaviors
The Automobile Association of America (AAA) recently released some alarming information about the dangers of texting and driving. Their report stated that distracted driving causes more than 3,400 traffic fatalities each year, with texting being the most alarming distraction of all. They also cite a recent study published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that concluded those drivers who use their phones in any capacity behind the wheel are three times more likely to be involved in a car crash.
AAA’s recent campaign launched regarding the dangers of driving and texting includes the slog, “Don’t drive intoxicated. Don’t drive intexticated…A sobering message from AAA.”
The reality of distracted driving behaviors
In addition to texting while driving, other distracted driving behaviors include eating, drinking, talking on the phone (with or without a hands-free device), talking to others in the vehicle, reading, applying make-up and fiddling with the entertainment or navigation system.
Here are some important statistics regarding texting and driving.
If you read or simply send a text, your eyes are off the road for 5 seconds, at the least. If you are traveling at 55 mph during these 5 seconds, you will be traversing the distance of an entire football field, with your eyes closed.
Taking your eyes off the road for even 2 seconds doubles the chances of you being involved in a car crash.
On average, 9 people each day are killed in the U.S. and 1000 injured due to someone texting while driving.
During daylight hours, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. That creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads.
Teens are the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes.
What you can do to help
AAA recommends these tips on how you can prevent death and injury when driving your vehicle.
Put your mobile device far enough away where you can’t see or reach it. This will help prevent the temptation to use it.
If you are going somewhere new, program your navigation system before you start driving.
If you have to make or take a call or text, pull off the road to a safe place and stop.
If you do need help navigating, calling, or texting, ask a passenger to do it for you.
If you are a passenger and the driver is distracted, make sure you bring it to his or her attention.
If you want to text someone and know they are on the road, wait until later to text them.
Distracted driving also applies to bicyclists so do not use your cell phone while cycling.
Show your teens this PSA created by the NHTSA.
Understand that you cannot be a safe driver unless you are 100 percent attentive to driving. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a distraction and will increase your risk of crashing and injuring or killing yourself or others.
Pay attention and please be safe out there.
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