How would you like it if a surgeon tweeted while she’s wrist-deep in your gut? We bet that you wouldn’t like it at all, and that’s exactly how other non-distracted drivers feel about those who text and drive on the regular. It doesn’t take a doctor to know that texting while driving can lead to car wrecks. No matter how masterful you are at multi-tasking, using a mobile device will certainly reduce your ability to scan for and react to road hazards.
At South Florida Honda Dealers, we’re strong advocates of solving the growing epidemic that is “distracted driving.” Here are some important facts about distracted driving, as well as ways that you can do your part to stop the problem cold in its tracks.
What is “Distracted Driving?”
Distracted driving isn’t just texting when you’re behind the wheel. According to distraction.gov, “distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” These diversions effectively endanger the lives and safety of anyone sharing the vehicle or road, including other drivers, passengers, cyclists, and bystanders/pedestrians. Other distracting activities aside from texting include the following:
- Eating or drinking
- Changing clothes
- Applying makeup
- Reading (maps)
- Using GPS navigation
- Selecting radio or streaming stations
- Watching videos (who in their right mind does this?)
- Talking to other passengers
- Dialing or calling others
- Adjusting mirrors, seats, or heating/cooling settings
While distracted drivers come in many forms, the most common are those that fall into the “Young Driver” category. Drivers under the age of 25 years old are at particular risk of being involved in a distraction-related wreck; these drivers are 300% more likely than their older counterparts to use their phones when driving. In fact, the crash rate of drivers aged 18 to 20 years old is over 17%, and those 21 to 24 years of age is 9%—the highest of any group.
More Statistics on Texting & Driving
Cognitive overload—that’s essentially the label we’d give texting and driving. Studies have shown that texting (and the general manipulation of mobile devices) when operating a vehicle can cause significant visual and mental distractions, ultimately affecting reaction time, judgment, and awareness. Distracted driving leads to inattentiveness, plain and simple. Here are some sobering numbers and stats to think about the next time your phone whistles from your car’s cup holder.
- 200 Billion – Texts sent monthly in the U.S.
- 700,000 Drivers – Drivers who use their mobile phones and devices at any given daylight moment (the main uses being texting and calling).
- 23 Times – Increased likelihood of being involved in a collision due to texting and driving.
- 7 in 10 – Drivers 18 to 20 years of age who admit to texting when operating a vehicle.
- 10% – Amount of time young drivers spend outside of their lane when using a mobile device.
- 5 Seconds – Average amount of time a driver takes their eyes off of the road when sending or reading a text.
- 100 Yards – Distance blindly traveled by texting drivers in those five seconds.
- 431,000 – Injuries due to distraction-related car accidents, equating to 18% of all injuries caused by all accidents.
- 3,179 – Deaths caused by distracted driving, accounting for 10% of all automotive fatalities. Even more troublesome is that nearly 38% of these fatalities involve drivers under 20 years of age.
- 520 – Nonoccupants killed in distraction-related crashes (view the story of Florida’s Chelsey Murphy here).
The numbers don’t lie—distracted driving is a danger that needs to be addressed. But how?
How to Prevent Distractions Behind the Wheel
More than 40% of drivers, no matter their age, have confessed to texting while driving. As a group of car dealers near Coral Springs, FL, South Florida Honda Dealers thinks that number is unacceptable. Pulling up that group text can wait, because one unseen turn signal, yellow-to-red light, or partially hidden stop sign could spell trouble in the most catastrophic way.
Here are some ways to better understand the problem and educate our young drivers of the dangers of distracted driving.
- Advocate: Policies are effective, but mean nothing without proper advocacy and legislation. We must raise public awareness in any way possible.
- Educate: Parents, teachers, and leaders in the communities can raise responsible drivers by educating pre-teens before they become seemingly invincible 16-year-olds.
- Lead: Adults should lead by example. More than 40% of young drivers and teenagers report seeing their parents or guardians use a cell phone when driving—tsk tsk.
- Enact Laws: Florida currently has soft motorist laws regarding mobile-phone use. 9 out of 10 drivers support stricter regulations that are enforceable (primary vs. secondary laws).
- New Safety Technology: Advanced crash-warning and driver-assist tech has been proven to reduce crash rates. Honda Sensing™ is a suite of safety features now available on all new Honda models, and includes Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Road Departure Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, and Collision Mitigation Braking. Although it’s not a substitute for responsible driving habits, this type of safety tech helps to keep drivers safe.
Help us take on this issue by sharing this post with friends and loved ones. The best way to end distracted driving is to tackle it head-on and educate our younger generation to keep their phones parked.
If you’re starting to show your teen the rules of the road in South Florida, or simply want a modern vehicle to keep your family safe, visit one of our Honda dealerships near Port St. Lucie, Miami, or Fort Lauderdale today. Locate your nearest South Florida Honda Dealers location online, browse our current Honda deals, and stop in for a test drive. Together, we can save lives, one person and one vehicle at a time.