As of April 22nd, 2019, Arizona became the 48th state to ban texting while driving. According to a study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,450 people were killed in distracted driving-related vehicle accidents in 2016, meaning 9% of all the fatal crashes this year involved distracted driving; and 14% of these crashes involved a fatality.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is anything that diverts your attention away from driving. A few examples are:
- Eating or drinking
- Talking or texting on a cellphone
- Fiddling with a stereo, navigation or entertainment system
- Talking with someone in the vehicle
- Putting on make-up
- Grabbing something off the floor or backseat
The same study found that texting and driving is six times more dangerous than driving intoxicated. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
What can we do?
Parents: Lead by example; talk with children about distracted driving and the consequences; sign a family pledge not to drive distracted.
Teens: Speak up when they see a friend or peer driving distracted; have friends sign a pledge; share message on social media.
Educators: Remind students about the dangers of distracted driving. Post posters and hand out materials relating to distracted driving.
Employers: Institute a company policy restricting texting, eating or any other form of distracted driving while operating company vehicles or while using their own vehicle for company business.