Understanding the Dangers of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a significant cause of car accidents in the United States, many of which lead to traumatic injuries and fatalities that could have been avoided with better driving practices. There are many possible sources of distraction on the road, but the most prevalent in today’s society is cell phones. By making phone calls, texting, and using smartphone apps, drivers are keeping their eyes and ears off the road while their hands are busy operating the phone rather than the vehicle. Teens and young adults are the biggest culprits of distracted driving related to cell phone use, but the danger exists for all drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians who may encounter a distracted driver. Below you can get a look at the costs of distracted driving as well as some measures that could prevent poor driving habits.
Increased Accident Risks
Spending just five seconds with your eyes off the road (the time it takes to send or read a text message) driving at 55 miles per hour, you will cover the length of a football field without knowing what is going on around you. When you consider that one quarter of teens report that they respond to at least one text message every time they get behind the wheel, there are a significant number of drivers with their eyes off the road at any given time.
Annual Deaths and Injuries
As a result of distracted driving, about 3,328 people were killed and another 421,000 people were injured in 2012. In fatal accidents, individuals in their 20s made up 27% of the drivers responsible.
Most cell phones feature a driving mode, which will automatically respond to text messages and limit the availability of apps. This feature can reduce the temptation of using a cell phone while driving—especially for teens who are less experienced on the road. You should also be conscious of other possible distractions like eating and drinking, adjusting your music, personal grooming, and talking with passengers. Working to reduce these behaviors in yourself and those around you can have a big impact on the safety of roads in your community.
For more tips on road safety, contact Regional Medical Center of San Jose at (888) 762-8881. You can also visit us online to explore the services of our level II trauma center , which may provide lifesaving resources for individuals who have suffered serious injuries in accidents caused by distracted drivers.