Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents in the United States. Distracted driving includes the texting and driving and using your phone for other purposes while driving, along with other activities such as attending to a child or eating. While texting and driving is a serious issue in itself, “distracted driving” also recognizes that many accidents are caused by cell phone usage that is not necessarily texting, such as the use of social media and other apps.
The risks and dangers of distracted driving are severe. The NHTSA estimates that distracted driving results in 3,000 fatalities every year. In 2012, one in every 10 accident was caused by distraction. Researchers have found that just talking on a cell phone while driving quadruples the chance of getting into a motor accident. Checking your cell phone for five seconds while driving (about the time it takes to read a text message) would result in traveling 300 feet without looking at the road, if driving at highway speeds. Teenage drivers are the biggest offenders, with 11 percent of teens in accidents admitting they were driving distracted. However, people of all ages have been found to participate in distracted driving.
The dangers of distracted driving should not be underestimated. They are a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents in the U.S., yet many drivers do not take the risks seriously. Lead by example while behind the wheel and keep your cellphone put away at all times while driving.