The problem of distractions:
- There are three main types of distraction1:
- Visual — taking your eyes off the road
- Manual — taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive — taking your mind off what you’re doing
- A survey by Liberty Mutual and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) found that teens felt pressure to stay connected or “always on” contributed to their need to engage with cell phones, even while driving2:
- 48% of teens reported texting more when alone in their car
- 55% reported texting while driving to update parents
- 37% reported texting to coordinate or confirm event details with friends
- 34% reported taking their eye off the road when receiving an app notification
- Most popular apps teens report using behind the wheel include2:
- Snapchat: 38%
- Instagram: 20%
- Twitter: 17%
- Facebook: 12%
- Youtube: 12%
- Cell phone use while driving is highest among 16-24 year old drivers and female drivers using a cell phone are more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than male drivers9
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves3
- Distracted driving related crashes accounted for 10% (263) of all teen deaths that occurred in 20165.
- 339 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted teen driver in 20165.
- Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times6.
- Texting and driving causes reaction time to double and those drivers have a harder time staying in their lane and maintaining a consistent speed7.
- More fatal teen crashes occur when passengers (often other teens) are in the car3.
- Over 55% of teens that died as passengers were in vehicles driven by other teens in 20163.
- Research has shown that crash risk and risk of being killed in a crash increases as the number of young passengers in the vehicle increases8.
What to do about distracted driving:
- Focus on the road. When you are driving is not the time to multi-task.
- Keep distractions out of the car. If you know you will be tempted to look at or use your phone, lock it in the trunk or turn it off.
- Ask passengers to obey your rules while they are in the car, meaning buckle up and don’t distract you.
- Designate a texter. If you have a passenger, hand over your phone so they can do your texting or talking for you.
- Be a good passenger by not distracting the driver.
- Know that as a driver, you have the responsibility to yourself and others. A vehicle is heavy machine and should be treated with respect.
- Set your music/radio before you take your car out of Park.
- Never use headphones while driving. It’s illegal and dangerous.
- Keep passengers to a minimum. If every person doesn’t have a seat belt, you have too many passengers.
- If you don’t feel well or emotionally able to drive – don’t. Ask for a ride or wait until you are able.
- Know your limitations. Driving experience comes with time. It’s ok to not be ready for certain driving conditions. Never feel pressured to drive dangerously or beyond your experience.
- Liberty Mutual & SADD, 2013 https://www.libertymutualgroup.com/about-lm/news/news-release-archive/articles/new-study-finds-teens-fear-of-missing-out-is-proving-to-be-dangerous
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812197.pdf
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2016. Traffic Safety Facts: Distracted Driving 2016: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812504
- NHTSA, Distraction.gov
- Texas A&M Transportation Institute
- Ouimet MC, Pradhan AK, Brooks-Russell A, Ehsani JP, Berviche D, Simons-Morton BG. Young drivers and their passengers: a systematic review of epidemiological studies on crash risk. 2015. Journal of Adolescent Health 57 (1 Suppl):S24-35.
- AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2015