These days, we rely on the use of our vehicles more than ever. Our cars not only take us to work, but also to school, the grocery store, post office, and a variety of other locations. While many drivers practice safe driving techniques, this cannot be said for all individuals. In fact, many people on the road are considered to be distracted drivers, often due to the use of their cell phones. Individuals who are interested in learning more about distracted driving should first understand the basics of the concept, as well as distracted driving statistics and facts. In addition, understanding how distracted driving can be prevented and considering the use of the pledge against distracted driving can be effective tools for individuals who wish to prevent this dangerous event from occurring.
What is Distracted Driving?
Before an individual can have a complete understanding on the statistics, facts, and methods of prevention of distracted driving, it is important to have a strong grasp of the basic idea itself. Traditionally, distracted driving is defined as a condition in which the operator of a motor vehicle is not focused primarily on the road, but rather may be focused on reading a text, email, or participating in another, similar task altogether. While distracted driving can affect individuals of all ages, it is believed to be primarily associated with teenagers or individuals in their early adulthood. Distracted driving can lead to a number of serious events, such as car accidents, which may cause injury, vehicle and/or property damage, and even possible death. It is considered to be one of the largest growing threats in regards to public safety in the United States of America.
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Statistics on Distracted Driving
There is no question that distracted driving can have serious consequences. According to some research, approximately 5,474 people were killed in 2009, while an additional 448,000 were injured due to their own or another individual’s distraction while driving. As mentioned previously, teens and individuals who are in their young adulthood are believed to be most at risk when it comes to participation in distracted driving. In the general public, only 20% of car accidents are believed to be caused by distracted driving. However, as many as 37% of accidents in which the driver was under the age of 20 years have been associated with participation in distracted driving.
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Facts on Distracted Driving
According to the experts, distracted driving is typically divided into three behaviors, which include manual distraction, or taking one’s hands off the wheel, visual distraction, or taking one’s eyes off the road, and cognitive distraction, or taking one’s mind off the activity of driving. All three of these activities cannot only be quite dangerous, but in some cases, life-threatening. Texting, reading an email, or browsing the internet requires all three of these types of distraction, and therefore is considered to be the most dangerous. In fact, research suggests that texting while driving can raise the risk of being in a car accident by as much as 23 times when compared to individuals who do not participate in this type of activity. Similarly, using a cell phone to text while driving is believed by many professionals in the field to be as dangerous as driving with a blood alcohol content of .08, the current legal limit.
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Distracted Driving Prevention
Obviously, distracted driving is a serious condition that should be avoided at all costs. Unfortunately, despite significant amounts of public outrage regarding distracted driving, many teens and young adults continue to text, read emails, and even surf the internet while driving in their cars. To this end, many state and local communities have made significant efforts in the area of distracted driving prevention. For example, there are a number of states in which participation in the activity is outright illegal, and can result in severe fines and even jail time. Similarly, community outreach campaigns which highlight the effects of distracted driving are now being shown on television, over the radio, and even in local newspapers and journals. Finally, some cell phone companies have made significant changes in the ways in which they monitor cell phone usage. In fact, certain companies have been able to track when cell phones are transported in vehicles, and block their signal at this time—therefore preventing calls, emails, or texts from occurring altogether while on the road.
Distracted Driving Pledge
In addition to the prevention methods described above, many organizations have asked teens, young adults, and other members of the driving community to sign a distracted driving pledge. As suggested by the name, this is a document in which drivers pledge to avoid distracted behaviors while operating a motor vehicle. Some car insurance companies have begun promoting distracted driving pledges as a way to lower the rates of vehicle insurance. While this has been an attractive offer for many individuals, others sign the pledge simply as a sign of good faith. Individuals who are interested in signing a distracted driving pledge may be able to obtain one through online resources. However, creating one’s own distracted driving pledge form can be just as rewarding as using a pre-made document.