Everything You Need to Know About Distraction-Affected Crashes
Is Drinking While Distracted the New DUI?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,166 people died in accidents that involved a distracted driver in 2017 alone.
That same year, an estimated 10,874 people were killed in drunk driving crashes involving a driver with a BAC of .08 or greater.
But while drunk driving, which claimed 7,708 more lives than distracted driving in 2017, has been declining in the last few decades, driving while distracted (or DWD) has only been increasing in danger and prevalence.
Here are the facts: Since 1982, drunk driving fatalities in the U.S. have decreased by 48%. Among persons under 21, drunk driving fatalities have decreased by 80%. Distracted driving, on the other hand, is becoming a greater hazard every day with the prevalence of cell phone and electronic device use while driving. In one year alone, fatalities from distraction-affected crashes increased by nearly 9%.
Distracted driving does not happen by itself. Many actions may cause a driver to switch their attention from driving to another task. These can range from eating while driving to engaging in conversation with other passengers to even adjusting the radio or climate controls.
The biggest distraction for modern-day drivers, however, is cell phones.
Cell phone use — which includes texting, online browsing, or taking pictures — is one of the biggest risks on the highway.
In 2017, reported cell phone use contributed to 14% of all fatal distraction-affected crashes. This means that a total of 434 people died in fatal crashes that involved cell-phone-related activities as distractions.
To combat these alarming statistics, many states enforce distracted driving laws. According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, 19 states D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. Additionally, 39 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers. Following Washington’s texting ban in 2007, 47 other states have banned text messaging for all drivers.
While these laws aim to prevent distracted driving, it’s up to drivers to follow them.
We here at Otorize encourage you to download our app for impaired driving prevention... and then put your phone away while you’re driving.
Keep the roads safe. Ignore that text.
Sources: Distracted Driving in Fatal Crashes, 2017, NHTSA Drunk Driving Fatality Statistics, Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility Distracted Driving, National Association for Insurance Commissioners Distracted Driving, Governor’s Highway Safety Association