Distracted driving accidents have doubled in the last several years. Yet according to a recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, people still continue to drive absentmindedly while texting and talking on the phone.
AAA recently surveyed 2,613 licensed drivers over the age of 16 on driving habits. Here’s what they found:
- 45% of people admitted to reading messages while driving; 35% said they have sent messages.
- Texting while driving now poses a greater risk for accidents than aggressive or drunk driving.
- Driving and texting at the same time increases chances for a crash by 8%.
- Ear buds–intended to keep you hands-free while talking–can actually hinder your ability to drive safely by blocking out important sounds around you such as other drivers honking or nearby sirens.
- Eating is also a common distraction that can prove dangerous.
Data also showed that distraction was a factor in 58% of accidents involving teen drivers–one of the most vulnerable groups on the road. Teaching these new drivers to put away phones while operating a car is paramount.
Car accidents due to distracted driving can lead to serious injuries like broken bones and fractures, or chronic neck, back pain or whiplash, and even fatality–not just for you, but for other innocent drivers and pedestrians in your path.
The City of Austin – and other surrounding parts of Central Texas – implemented a “hands-free ordinance” in 2015 where costly fines and traffic citations can be issued if caught using your cell phone while driving.
To help keep your focus on the road while driving, AAA recommends:
- Putting cell phones and any other electronic distractions away out for your reach.
- Pre-programming GPS to your upcoming location, and adjusting seats, mirrors, climate and sound systems before starting to drive.
- Using Bluetooth functionality on your phone for incoming calls so you can drive hands-free.
(Courtesy of The Today Show)