Distracted Driving – The Most Common Causes

Driving is a Huge Part of Our lives

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time imagining what it would be like if I couldn’t just jump in my truck and go where ever it is I want to go. 聽I think I would feel like a caged animal. 聽Luckily we don’t have to worry about not having that right. 聽We do, however, have an obligation to ensure that when we jump in our vehicles, heading where ever it is we like to go, that we drive safely and not endanger the lives of others on the road. Understanding the most common distracted driving activities and the impact they have may cause us all pause the next time we consider a distracted driving no-no.

Most Common Actions That Cause Distracted Driving

According to the NHTSA, the primary actions that cause distracted driving and lead to accidents are:

  • Cell phone use – includes calling, texting, etc…
  • Reaching for an object in your car that is moving around
  • Diverting your attention to an event outside of your vehicle, like a car accident (yes, rubber-necking)
  • Reading – really, folks are reading while they are driving. 聽Wow!
  • Putting on makeup – Seriously, can’t a person wake up a few minutes earlier to get that makeup on??

Cell Phone Usage While Driving – The Leading Action Causing Distracted Driving

driver distracted from driving, on a cell phone

Don’t be distracted…

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2008 16% of fatal crashes and 21% of injury crashes were attributed to driver distractions. 聽Although a driver distraction definition may seem mundane, due to the amount of injuries and deaths caused by distractions, I think it is worth a clear explanation: the diversion of a driver’s attention away from activities considered to be critical for safe driving.

I know, pretty basic but, clearly, many folks are choosing to make the poor decision of distracted driving, regardless. 聽In fact, recent studies show that at any given point, 10% of those driving are using a cell phone for one thing or another. 聽When you consider how many cars are on the road across the nation right now, that 10% translates into a big, big number…

States Leading the Way – California: in 2008, California implemented a cell phone law that says if you are over the age of 18 you can use a hands-free device while driving but you may NOT text while driving. 聽Those drivers under the age of 18 can NOT use a hands-free device while driving, period.

A Few Simple Safe Driving Tips Regarding Cell Phones

  • Don’t even begin driving until you have finished a call or text string – end the conversation before you drive on
  • If your phone rings while you are driving, let that call go to your voicemail
  • If you feel you need to answer an incoming call while driving, either pull over to the side of the road or use a hands-free device.

People in Your Care Can be a Huge Distraction

people talking can be a distractionWhether your passenger’s consist of children, friends or pets, or all 3, remember that as the driver of the vehicle it is your responsibility to keep them all in check so that you can focus your attention on driving safely, free of distractions.

Here a few tips to help you keep your passengers in check:

  • Children – this can be a tough one, we get it. 聽Before you even leave the garage or driveway, try to equip your little ones with things that will keep their attention off of you (a game, a book, etc…)
  • Friends – also a tough one, they just want to talk it up… 聽Remind your friends of the importance of getting to your targeted location in one piece and that you are the critical component of making that happen. 聽Set the ground rules before you leave and INSIST they be followed. 聽It’s your car, your responsibility!
  • Pets – pets in vehicles has become so common that I rarely even notice when a person has their pet in the car with them. 聽However, a pet can not only get injured in an accident but can also be the cause of one. 聽There are many pet restraint options out these days, take advantage. 聽The life you save may be your own pet… 聽(they are like family, believe me, I know).

Distracted Driving – The Real Deal

Ok, I could go on all day on this topic but, at the end of the day, it really boils down to one thing for me – common sense! 聽Vehicles can be like weapons with deadly consequences if not used properly. 聽Just be smart and use common sense – if you are on the phone, talking to a friend or whatever, your full attention is not on the road and we know that your full attention is needed to be a safe driver. 聽If that doesn’t drive it home for you, perhaps this will:

  • Every day, 9 people die in the U.S. and over 1,600 are injured due to distracted driving related accidents.
  • In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in car accidents because of distracted driving
  • In 2011, 387,000 people were injured in a car accident due to distracted driving

We don’t mean to sound like a scolding parent, but lets face it, if we can have such a direct impact on the safety of others, why wouldn’t we do it!

Drive Safe – Don’t be Distracted!!

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