April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month--this observance is to draw attention to the dangers of distracted driving.
So what is distracted driving?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Distracted Driving is: any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving.
All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
From an employer perspective, employers share the cost for distraction-related auto accidents that occur both on and off the job. Many occur during the workday or during the commute to and from work. Whether you employ commuters, manage a fleet of vehicles, or oversee a mobile sales or service team, your bottom line suffers along with your employees from distracted driving.
State Legislation on Texting While Driving
State legislation related to this issue has increased. In 2007, Washington became the first state to ban texting while driving. Now 46 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands have followed suit. For information about state distracted driving laws, check out the Governors Highway Safety Association website.
Even with increased bans on texting, over 3,000 deaths occur each year due to crashes caused by distraction. So there is still more work to do, and raising awareness is a great place to start.
ALSO ON FRANKCRUM: 4 Safety Priorities to Consider for 2016
Below are some key facts and statistics on the issue of Distracted Driving from the Official U.S. Government website on Distracted Driving. Share these statistics with your employees to raise awareness of this issue.
Key Facts and Statistics on Distracted Driving
From: Official U.S. Government website on Distracted Driving
- In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
- As of December 2014, 169.3 billion text messages were sent in the U.S. (includes PR, the Territories, and Guam) every month. (CTIA)
- 10% of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crashes. (NHTSA)
- Drivers in their 20s are 23% of drivers in all fatal crashes, but are 27% of the distracted drivers and 38% of the distracted drivers who were using cell phones in fatal crashes. (NHTSA)
- The percentage of drivers text-messaging or visibly manipulating handheld devices increased from 1.7 percent in 2013 to 2.2% in 2014. Since 2007, young drivers (ages 16 to 24) have been observed manipulating electronic devices at higher rates than older drivers. (NHTSA)
- At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. (NOPUS)
- A 2015 Erie Insurance distracted driving survey reported that drivers do all sorts of dangerous things behind the wheel including brushing teeth and changing clothes. The survey also found that one-third of drivers admitted to texting while driving, and three-quarters saying they’ve seen others do it.
- 5 seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. (2009, VTTI)
- Smartphone ownership is growing. In 2011, 52% of drivers reported owning a smartphone, and by 2014 that number had grown to 80%. The greatest increases in smartphone ownership are among adults age 40 and older. (STATE FARM)
- More than half (53%) of all adult cellphone owners have been on the giving or receiving end of a distracted walking encounter. (PEW RESEARCH)
Next Steps: Workplace Safety
Still have questions about how to implement better practices for workplace safety within your company? We invite you to contact a specialist, who can explain how FrankCrum can support you in risk management, Workers’ Compensation insurance, and more!