As April comes to an end, so does Distracted Driving Awareness Month. While striving to bring awareness to a dangerous problem, the other 11 months should also focus on a growing problem.
The end of 2021 saw more than 3,500 people lose their lives to distracted driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed data in 2020 that showed distracted driving resulting in 3,142 fatalities and nearly 325,000 injuries. Specific breakdowns include the following:
- Eight percent of fatal crashes
- Fourteen percent of injury accidents
- Thirteen percent of motor vehicle collisions reported by law enforcement involved accidents caused by distractions
The same year saw pedestrians, bicyclists, and other nonoccupants accounting for 587 fatalities due to non-attentive drivers.
Technology playing a deadly role
Smartphone use was once again the most common culprit, whether drivers were calling a friend or posting to social media. Some went as far as taking “selfie-style” videos. Additional factors such as sleepiness, intense emotions, and work-related stress also played a role in distraction-driven accidents.
The 2023 Travelers Risk Index saw that responding distracted drivers recognized and agreed on the potential hazards. Electronic devices again led the pack with specific data revealing:
- More than half of the drivers confessed to reading texts or emails
- Seventy-four percent acknowledged taking their eyes off the roads to look at map directions and smartphones
- More than 25 percent posted on social media and took pictures and videos while driving
Using technological devices behind the wheel remains a clear and present danger to drivers and anyone sharing the road with them. The outcome is often catastrophic, with loved ones left grieving over life-changing injuries or fatalities.