Activities that take drivers’ attention off the road, including talking or texting on cellphones, eating, conversing with passengers and other distractions, are a major safety threat. according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (NHTSA), seven out of 10 drivers admit they engage in smartphone activities while driving.
Texting and emailing are still the most prevalent. But other smartphone activity use behind the wheel is now common. Among social platforms, Facebook tops the list, with more than a quarter of those polled using the app while driving. About one in seven drivers said they’re on Twitter while behind the wheel.
“As we rely on our cell phones more and more in our everyday lives, we seem to be kidding ourselves in thinking that they don’t affect our driving,” said California Office of Traffic Safety Director Rhonda Craft. “Crashes are up. The scientific evidence is solid. The dangers are real, and they apply to all of us. We need to silence the distractions.”
To raise awareness about unsafe behavior, numerous safety agencies have joined forces to designate April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In 2014, 3,179 people were killed and an additional 431,000 were injured in collisions involving distracted drivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. That same year, inattention collisions resulted in the death of 104 people and the injury of 11,436 others in California.
If you have teen drivers in your home, you not only need to be aware of your own distracted driving, but theirs as well. The NHTSA’s website www.Distraction.gov has some excellent information on distracted driving. “It Can Wait”, a public awareness campaign funded by four by wireless carriers, provides resources on the dangers of distracted driving, including smartphone apps (not for use when behind the wheel, videos and more.