Distracted driving is an ever increasing cause of crashes, from fender benders to fatal crashes, on our roadways. At least 30% of the thirty plus thousand (30,000+) crashes that happen on New Hampshire roadways every year involve some level of distraction.
When we think about distracted driving, we instantly think of electronic devices. Although they are a major part of distraction, anything and everything that we might do that minimizes our focus on our driving is a distraction.
The 3 major types of distraction are visual, manual and mental.
Eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and/or our minds off of our driving translates to an increased risk of crashing.
Research by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute shows that texting while driving increases our crash risk by 23 times. That is because texting involves all 3 of the major distraction types.
Defining The Problem
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is very specific in their definition of the problem by stating that distracted driving is ANYTHING that takes your attention away from your driving. They look at the fatality rate on a daily basis by stressing that every day some 9 people die because someone chooses to drive distracted. All of these deaths are preventable. This link to the CDC provides information about the types of distraction, the overall problem, the risk factors, prevention strategies and other resources.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2016 alone, 3,450 people were killed by distracted drivers. In 2015, 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
The reality is that the number of deaths and injuries from distraction are, without much doubt, actually higher because distraction is typically under reported as a cause for crashes. We are not inclined to admit to being distracted, unless we absolutely have to, when we cause a crash.