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Distracted Driving Statistics

Distracted Driving 101

Distracted driving is defined as operating a vehicle while engaging in other activities. Distracted driving is a serious epidemic; so much so that there are hundreds of governemtnal (both state and federal) programs created to stave off distracted driving. Over 3000 people were killed in 2013 alone in distracted driving crashes. When you are behind the wheel, engaged in texting, talking on the phone, glancing at children, watching videos, eating or even reading, you are taking your life and the lives of your passengers in your hands. All distractions compromise the safety of everyone in the car plus those who are in other vehicles around you.

Motor vehicle departments separate distracted driving into three groups. These are visual, manual and cognitive. Taking your eyes off the road is visual distraction, taking your hands off the wheel is manual distraction and cognitive distraction is not focusing on where you are driving.

Polls conducted by leading pollsters state that:

• 86% of drivers eat or drink while driving.

• 37% of drivers and the percentages are steadily rising, text while driving.

• 41% of drivers manipulate a GPS while driving.

• 14% of drivers apply makeup while driving.

• 13% of drivers browse the internet while driving.

Check out this Wikipedia article

The percentages for teenage drivers is higher than these percentages provided by older drivers. Studies have shown that males have a tendency to drive distracted more often than women. These include driving while drowsy, drinking, reading a map or talking to passengers.

Your risks of being in a crash are 3.9 time higher while sending or receiving a text message, 8.0 times higher when reaching for objects and 3.0 times higher while eating or drinking.

Statistics shows that dialing on a cell phone will increase your risk of crashing by a ratio more than 2.5 times.

Not only is it dangerous to drive with two-legged passengers, your four-legged friends are a huge distraction as well. According to studies by the American Automobile Association, 31% of people admitted being distracted by their dogs. 80% of the people surveyed stated they often drove with their pets, but only 17% used any pet restraint. With this said, looking away from the road for only two seconds to check on your pet more than doubles a driver’s risk of being in a crash.


Examples of Distracted Driving

States have been enacting more and more laws in the fight against distracted driving as well. There are laws concerning texting while driving, but what about people taking selfies from behind the wheel while the care is moving? Taking selfies is a very stupid action while driving. Motorcyclists are also victims of distracted driving. Only a couple of years go a motorist took a video of a motorcycle rider not only leaning back and using his feet to steer his cycle, but he was also texting while riding down the freeway. Crazy, dangerous, and the cyclist ended up causing a pile up on a major interstate. He survived his crash but was given a citation.

It doesn't matter if you believe you are the ultimate multi-tasker, but a video went viral of a bus driver, driving and reading a book on a snowy road! What a horrible example of distracted driving. The driver was endangering his passengers and those on the road. Needless to say, after this video had gone viral, the driver was fired.

Is getting in touch with someone so important you can take a few seconds and pull off the road to text your message? Texting while driving has been responsible for accidents that claimed over 17,000 lives in a period from 2001 to 2007.

A young girl on her way home from college in Eastern Idaho drove into a semi on the freeway because she was texting her fiancé a funny story. Dr. Frank Ryan, a renowned plastic surgeon, died early in 2010 while sending a Twitter message about his dog died when he crashed his car. The cause of death was blunt force head trauma. A few days ago in a Missouri city, a driver plowed into the front room of a home killing two small children and himself. The reason, texting while driving.

State Distracted Driving Laws

There are states and countries who are cracking down on distracted drivers. These drivers are getting huge fines, possible jail time, and other penalties. Some distracted driving laws include:


• 38 states and the District of Columbia ban all cell phone use by novice drivers (teens), and 20 states prohibit cell phone use for school bus drivers.

• Text messaging is banned in 45 states, D.C. Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Many states have primary enforcement. Other states who do not have an all-out text messaging laws do ban text messaging by novice drivers.

• Nearly all states include at least one category for distracted driving options on police crash report forms. Check out the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria guidelines to get the best practices in distracted driving data collection.

• Further distracted driving laws include talking on a cell phone while holding it in your hands or using any other handheld electronic device such as an MP3 player or GPS.

• Programming a GPS device while driving or using a cell phone for navigation purposes is also banned.


Distracted driving laws are divided into two different categories. Primary laws mean that an officer can pull you over if they notice you are violating a cell phone usage law. You don’t have to commit any other traffic distraction to get picked up for cell phone use.

Secondary laws mean an officer must witness a driver committing another violation first. This is the reason you will not be pulled over, but if you are seen violating a cell phone ban you will be ticketed for that as well.

Avoid the chance of a crash, a citation, or being the cause of someone's death by paying attention to your driving. Distracted driving is any activity that takes your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road for even a few seconds. If you need to text while driving, pull to the side of the road. If you must put on makeup, try doing it at home, and if you are reading while driving, stop immediately.

Another great resource can be found Here - which is a great resource for both Parents and Teens that are interested in taking steps to protect themselves, their family, and their friends.

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