Considering 72% of smartphone owners check their phone at least once per hour, and 81% reporting keeping their smartphone with them at almost all times, it’s no surprise that we find this behavior continues behind the wheel. Texting is considered particularly dangerous, but a survey on distracted driving by Erie Insurance found that drivers engage in all sorts of distracting behaviors behind the wheel - from flossing their teeth to playing the guitar!
These behaviors are incredibly dangerous. While it may feel like you can complete tasks that you do every day - such as eating, texting, or talking on the phone - on autopilot while you drive, engaging in these behaviors - and many others - means you’re driving distracted. Ultimately, these tasks do require some of your attention, taking that attention away from your driving.
The following are just a sample of the research promoted by the U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for Distracted Driving Awareness Month:
-In 2014, 3,179 people died and another 431,000 were injured in crashes where a distracted driver was involved.
-Those numbers increased from 2013’s 3,154 deaths and 424,000 injuries from crashes involving distracted driving, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data.
-In 2013, distracted driving was reported to have affected 10% of fatal crashes, 18% of injury crashes, and 16% of all police-reported crashes.
-Drivers aged 15-19 made up 6% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2013, but accounted for 10% of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes and 11% of drivers using cell phones at the time of a fatal crash.
-Drivers aged 20-29 represented 23% of the total amount of drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2013, while accounting for 27% of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes and 38% of drivers using cell phones at the time of a fatal crash.
-Drivers aged 30-39 were reported to be 17% of the total amount of drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2013. They were also reported to be 17% of the distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes, though they accounted for 20% of crashes in which the driver was using a cell phone at the time of a fatal crash.
-This survey conducted by Erie Insurance cites a previous data analysis by Erie Insurance of police data from 2010 and 2011. The analysis of the police data showed that in fatal crashes in which at least one driver was distracted, daydreaming was the most common cause of distraction. Cell phone use was the second most common.
-Distraction isn’t only dangerous behind the wheel. 53% of adults who own cell phones say they’ve been involved in a distracted walking encounter.
-The 2011 National Occupant Protection Use Survey found 5% of drivers held cell phones to their ear while driving, which translates to 660,000 vehicles with a driver using a handheld phone at any given daylight moment.
Regardless of your age, or what types of distractions you engage in behind the wheel, the important thing to remember is that distracted driving is dangerous. Crashes, injuries, and fatalities that result from distracted driving are crashes, injuries, and fatalities that could have been prevented. All you have to do to help end distracted driving is #justdrive.
Visit our Distracted Driving Awareness Month page to learn more about distracted driving and Distracted Driving Awareness Month, find out more ways you can join the fight to end distracted driving, and take the pledge to drive phone-free!