Distracted Driving — What It Is and What It Risks

One of the biggest challenges with travel safety today is the rise of “distracted driving” on the road. Distract driving is any activity that could cause a driver to redirect their attention from driving. This includes texting, grooming, reading (including maps), adjusting the radio, using a smartphone and more. These distractions endanger the driver, passengers, others on the road and bystanders. 

At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cellphones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. (NOPUS)

Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. (2009, VTTI)

In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. (“Teen Driver Distraction Study, UMTRI-Toyota,” UMTRI 2012)

Parents who engage in distracting behaviors more frequently have teens who engage in distracting behaviors. Teens read or send text messages once a trip 26 times more often than their parents think they do.

These statistics and others can be found on distraction.gov. It’s an online resource from the USDOT that shares research and spreads awareness for the prevention of distractive driving.