April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. An important topic to be aware of all year round, driving while distracted for any reason significantly increases the chance of a motor vehicle crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a division of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), notes that distracted driving claimed the lives of at least 3,477 people in 2015 alone. Approximately 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers the same year. These alarming figures have created a call for drivers to pay more attention to their actions while driving, urging them to keep their eyes and mind on the road, and their hands on the steering wheel while driving.
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from the task of driving. There are three main types of distraction:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: taking your mind off driving
Talking on the phone, texting, eating, drinking, interacting with passengers, adjusting the radio, using the navigation system, and grooming, are just some of the actions that can take away the attention needed to safely operate a vehicle.
One action that includes all three forms of distraction is texting. Texting is one of the most dangerous driving distractions, and younger people seem to be at the greatest risk, with teens making up the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of a fatal accident. If a person spends five seconds texting while driving, at 55 miles per hour it is like driving the length of a football field with their eyes closed.
While a majority of states have laws preventing texting and driving, more needs to be done to emphasize the importance of not driving while distracted. Awareness campaigns like Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and a conscious effort by drivers of all ages to give their full attention to the road while driving, keep their hands off their phones, and eyes peeled for hazards can help reduce accidents caused by distracted driving.
To protect yourself, your passengers, and fellow drivers, iLendingDIRECT urges all drivers to avoid distraction while driving so you arrive safe at your destination every time you go out in your vehicle.