Every driver who gets behind the wheel makes an implicit promise -- to drive safely and responsibly. But despite this, many drivers still think it is okay to allow themselves to be distracted while driving. Here are five facts about distracted driving that everyone should know.
Fact #1: In 2014, the most recent year for which full data is available, more than 3,100 people were killed and more than 430,000 people were injured in crashes involving distracted driving. Many of those who survive these accidents suffer from lifelong injuries and complications that dramatically impact their quality of life.
Fact #2: People in the United States sent nearly 170 billion text messages in that year -- an activity that many people find so natural that they do it regardless of where they are or what they should be doing. A disproportionate number of these texts are sent from drivers in moving cars.
Fact #3: Disturbingly, 23 percent of the drivers involved in fatal crashes are in their 20s, with so much life ahead of them gone in an instant. Those 20-somethings made up more than 25 percent of distracted drivers and close to 40 percent of drivers using cellphones in fatal accidents.
Fact #4: Despite new laws, billboards and public announcements, the number of people using handheld devices while driving increased by nearly one-third from one year to the next -- disproportionately among new drivers aged 16 to 24. That is arguably the age range when drivers should be learning the most about how to stay in control of a vehicle.
Fact #5: During the daytime, 660,000 drivers are using cellphones or devices at any given time. This number shows no signs of decreasing. More and more people own devices like smartphones and are using them instead of keeping their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. By most recent estimates, 80 percent of drivers have these devices.
Distracted driving involves more than using cellphones.
Distracted driving occurs when a person tries to drive while performing another activity. Many people think that they can do things like eat, drink, use GPS, talk on the phone or adjust the radio while driving, but the fact is that all of these activities slow people's response times and cause accidents.
For more on what to do after a collision with a distracted driver, please see Easton & Easton's overview of motor vehicle accidents and injury claims.