Drive down the road almost anywhere, urban area, rural countryside, interstate or neighborhood street, and you’ll see someone texting and driving. Or they’re otherwise fiddling with their phone. Some have called the threat posed by distracted driving an epidemic. Highway deaths in the U.S. jumped 7.2 percent in 2015 — the largest increase since 1966 — and although distracted driving doesn’t account for all of that increase, it has been cited as a factor. And while we often associate distracted driving only with smartphone use, such as texting or checking social media, it also encompasses several other more traditional behaviors such as eating, talking to passengers and adjusting the radio.
Number of people killed in 2014 in vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, according to Distraction.gov. That’s about 10 percent of the overall highway fatalities. For some perspective, the government reports 3,428 people died in fires in 2014.
U.S. drivers who say they would let an app prevent them from using their cell phones behind the wheel, according to a 2016 study by EverQuote.com. 47.6% say they would not want such an app.
Percentage of all drivers who say sending text messages or e-mails while driving makes no difference in their driving performance. The 2012 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study found roughly half of all drivers said talking on a phone made no difference in their driving.
Drivers in one widely cited 2014 study were found to have 35 percent slower reaction times when reading or sending text messages. By comparison, the study by London’s Transport Research Laboratory found that drivers who had been drinking showed a 12 percent decrease in reaction times. Some have called for strengthening the laws against distracted driving, given similar findings in other studies comparing texting and driving versus driving while impaired.
Injuries attributed to distracted driving in the U.S. in 2014, according to Distraction.gov.
U.S. adults who believe their state should do more to prevent phone use while driving a car, according to that Everquote.com study. As of December 2016, 46 states ban all texting by drivers. And 37 states ban all cellphone use by novices.
Here’s a website, www.sr22insurance.net, with numerous references to many different distracted driving resources and statistics.