April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month. Distraction.gov, published by the US Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, defines distracted driving as any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. According to the NHTSA, these type of distractions include:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating & drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 player
But because test messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most dangerous distraction.
Studies showed that 3,328 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2012. Due to this alarming number many states now have established Distracted Driving Laws. Forty-one states have banned text messaging for all drivers, and twelve states prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving. To view a summary of the laws for each state, please visit Distraction.com for an interactive map.
Below are some more facts about distracted driving provided by Distraction.gov
- Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent, at 55 mph, of driving the length of an entire football field blindfolded
- At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 600,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.
- 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash
- 21% of all 15-19 year old drivers involved in fatal crashed were distracted by the use of cell phones