A distraction is anything that takes your mind and attention away from driving.
There are three main types of distraction (1):
- Visual — taking your eyes off the road
- Manual — taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive — taking your mind off what you’re doing
DID YOU KNOW…
In 2016, 124 people ages 18-24 were killed in a distracted driving related car crash in Texas (2).
In 2016, there were 46,205 distracted driving related car crashes involving a 18 to 24 year old driver (2).
Handheld cell phone use continues to be higher among female drivers than male drivers (3).
Since 2007, young drivers 16 to 24 years old have been observed manipulating electronic devices at higher rates than older drivers (3).
A 2013 survey by Liberty Mutual and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) found that teens felt pressure to stay connected or “always on” contributed to their need to engage with cell phones, even while driving (4):
- 48% of teens reported texting more when alone in their car
- 55% reported texting while driving to update parents
- 37% reported texting to coordinate or confirm event details with friends
- 34% reported taking their eye off the road when receiving an app notification
Most popular apps teens report using behind the wheel include (4):
- Snapchat: 38%
- Instagram: 20%
- Twitter: 17%
- Facebook: 12%
- Youtube: 12%
Cell Phones are a distraction
- Cell phone use while driving is highest among 16-24 year old drivers and female drivers using a cell phone are more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than male drivers (5)
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves (6)
- Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times (6).
- Texting and driving causes reaction time to double and those drivers have a harder time staying in their lane and maintaining a consistent speed (8).
Passengers are a distraction
- More fatal teen crashes occur when passengers (often other teens) are in the car (6).
- Over two out of four teens that died as passengers are in vehicles driven by other teens (6).
- Research has shown that crash risk and risk of being killed in a crash increases as the number of young passengers in the vehicle increases (9).
How to Stop Distracted Driving
- Focus on the road. When you are driving is not the time to multi-task.
- Keep distractions out of the car. If you know you will be tempted to look at or use your phone, lock it in the trunk or turn it off.
- Ask passengers to obey your rules while they are in the car, meaning buckle up and don’t distract you.
- Designate a texter. If you have a passenger, hand over your phone so they can do your texting or talking for you.
- Be a good passenger by not distracting the driver.
- Know that as a driver, you have the responsibility to yourself and others. A vehicle is heavy machine and should be treated with respect.
- Set your music/radio before you take your car out of Park.
- Never use headphones while driving. It’s illegal and dangerous.
- Keep passengers to a minimum. If every person doesn’t have a seat belt, you have too many passengers.
- If you don’t feel well or emotionally able to drive – don’t. Ask for a ride or wait until you are able.
- Know your limitations. Driving experience comes with time. It’s ok to not be ready for certain driving conditions. Never feel pressured to drive dangerously or beyond your experience.
- TxDOT Crash Records Information System (C.R.I.S.) https://cris.dot.state.tx.us
- NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts (2017). Driver Electronic Device Use in 2016.
- Liberty Mutual & SADD, 2013 https://www.libertymutualgroup.com/about-lm/news/news-release-archive/articles/new-study-finds-teens-fear-of-missing-out-is-proving-to-be-dangerous
- AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2015
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
- Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
- Texas A&M Transportation Institute
- Ouimet MC, Pradhan AK, Brooks-Russell A, Ehsani JP, Berviche D, Simons-Morton BG. Young drivers and their passengers: a systematic review of epidemiological studies on crash risk. 2015. Journal of Adolescent Health 57 (1 Suppl):S24-35.