Quantifying the Dangers of Distracted Driving

Posted By Regan Zambri & Long || 15-Apr-2015

The month of April is designated as "Distracted Driving" month each year in the United States in an effort to bring awareness to the very real dangers of distracted driving.  "Distracted driving" is broadly defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as "driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving." Although distracted driving has always been a contributing factor in motor vehicle collisions, the number of collisions blamed on distracted driving has increased exponentially in recent years due, in large part, to the increased use of hand-held electronic devices. Here are some worrying statistics:

• 3,154 people were killed in 2012 as a result of crashes involving distracted drivers.

• 424,000 people were injured in 2012 in a distracted driving crash.

• In a CDC distracted driving study, 69 percent of drivers in the United States ages 18-64 reported that they had talked on their cell phone while driving within the 30 days before they were surveyed, compared to only 21 percent of drivers from the United Kingdom and 59 percent in Portugal.

• 31 percent of U.S. drivers ages 18-64 reported that they had read or sent text messages or email messages while driving at least once within the 30 days before they were surveyed, compared to 15 percent in Spain and 31 percent in Portugal.

• Nearly half of all U.S. high school students aged 16 years or older text or email while driving, according to a CDC study.

• Over 150 billion text messages are sent in the U.S. every month.

• At any given moment, approximately 660,000 people are using a handheld electronic device while driving across the U.S.

• 10 percent of fatally injured drivers under the age of 20 were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.

• A driver's eyes are off the road for an average of five seconds when texting. If you're traveling at 55 m.p.h., that is like driving the length of a football field blindfolded.

The dangers associated with distracted driving are very real, which is why both the federal government and most state governments have enacted laws aimed at reducing the use of cell phones and other distractions while driving. Texting while driving, for example, is illegal for operators of tractor-trailers and other large trucks. As of 2015, 14 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving, and 38 states prohibit cell phone use while driving for novice drivers.

Texting while driving laws are even more common — 45 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands all ban text messaging for all drivers.

Please consider calling our Washington D.C. car accident attorneys about your recent crash. Here's a more detailed survey of the dangers of distracted driving: AAA Research Reveals Distraction & Teen Crashes More Serious than Previously Believed

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