We have all seen distracted drivers. I would even venture to guess that all of us, at one time or another, have been distracted drivers. You know the behaviors; eating, applying mascara, texting or making calls on mobile phones.
– There have been more than 5,800 annual U.S. traffic deaths tied to motorists who failed to keep their eyes on the road
– Figures released at the conference by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 515,000 injuries last year
– The proportion of deadly accidents tied to distracted driving climbed from 11 percent in 2004 to 16 percent in 2008
– Drivers under 20 years old were involved in 16 percent of distracted-driver fatal crashes and those ages 20 to 29 accounted for another 12 percent
It is also important to note that 10 percent of drivers aged 16 to 24 years old are on their phone at any one time. When you combine that statistic with the fact that drivers who use cell phones are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves (NHTSA), it should also be increasingly important to look at the driving behaviors of young drivers.
Legislation has been swirling around the topic of distracted driving recently. It has caught further media attention when Oprah recently announced her campaign, in which she encourages drivers to turn their vehicles into a “No Phone Zone.” When speaking of the number of deaths caused each year by distracted driving, Oprah added “Let it be the end, the end of you using a cell phone or sending a text message when you are behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. And until we as a nation decide we’re going to change that, those numbers are only going to go up.”