What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is any kind of driving where you are not focusing entirely on the road. Driving distractions can include things like using cellphones, eating while on the road, talking to people in your car, playing with the radio, using your GPS system, or any other activity that takes your attention away from driving.
When it comes to distracted driving, you may hear mostly about people campaigning against texting and driving. This is because texting while driving takes the average person’s eyes off the road for several seconds, which makes it especially dangerous for high-speed freeway driving.
What Are the Results of Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is a big problem. In fact, according to the most recent NHTSA statistics compiled, 3,477 people were killed by distracted driving and 391,000 people were injured in 2015 alone.1 It’s estimated that around 660,000 drivers are using electronic devices while on the road at any given time.
What Is the Law Regarding Driving Distractions?
Laws regarding distracted driving vary from state to state. In most states, it’s illegal to even touch your phone while you are driving, though in some states the laws are more lax.2 To familiarize yourself with the law, visit your state’s DMV. And if you are interested in advocating for change to those laws, contact your state representatives and/or your governor.
What Organizations Work to Stop Distracted Driving?
Many people have suffered loss due to distracted driving. As a result, there are several organizations that work to end distracted driving. Here are some of the most powerful organizations you can join:
- US Department of Transportation/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
- Impact Teen Drivers
- National Safety Council (NSC)
- End Distracted Driving (EndDD)
- Drop It And Drive (DIAD)
Each of these organizations campaigns to end distracted driving.
How Can I Help End Distracted Driving?
There are several ways to end distracted driving, and the most important is to commit yourself to avoid driving while distracted. This means you put your cellphone away, avoid any texting, set your radio station before you step on the gas, make sure you know where you are going before you start moving, and ultimately commit to removing any distractions while driving. After you have committed for yourself, you can work to influence the people around you, like friends, family, and peers.
Another way to get involved is to join or donate to one of the organizations that campaign to end distracted driving.
If you’re worried about slipping out of safe driving habits, consider getting a dash cam. Knowing that you’re being recorded as you drive may help you stay on your best behavior.