In March of 2011, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (the doctors who repair broken bones from automobile accidents) commissioned a Harris Interactive Survey, the findings of which revealed how American drivers feel about multitasking, their own behavior behind the wheel as well as the choices of other drivers.
- Of the more than 1,500 driving-age adults surveyed, NONE of them reported their own driving as unsafe. In fact, 83 percent claim to drive safely. And, yet they believe only 10 percent of other drivers drive “safely.”
- Among those who self-reported distracted driving behaviors overall, 30-44 year olds seem to be the worst offenders having more likely admitted to eating or drinking, talking on a cell phone or reaching in the back seat of the car while driving.
- Many drivers that have experienced a near-accident due to their own distracted driving behavior say they will continue the behavior that caused them to swerve or slam on the breaks to avoid an accident.
What Is Distracted Driving?
There are three main types of distraction:
- Visual — taking your eyes off the road
- Manual — taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive — taking your mind off what you’re doing
While all distractions can endanger drivers’ safety, texting is the most alarming because it involves all three types of distraction.
What can you do to drive with fewer distractions?
* Adjust seats, head rests, vehicle controls and mirrors, and fasten your seat belt before you drive;
* Enter the destination address into your GPS system OR review maps and written directions before you drive;
* Do not eat or drink while driving, and move all potential distractions such as reading materials, cell phones, etc., away from easy reach—the point is to keep your eyes on the road; and
* If there is a distraction that needs your immediate attention, we encourage you to first stop your vehicle in a safe area.
What are some other distracted driving activities you have observed in other drivers or yourself?
- Talking on a cell phone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Emailing or checking Facebook on a smartphone
- Changing the radio station, CD, or Mp3 player.
Did You Know these alarming statistics?
Research on distracted driving reveals some surprising facts:
- 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA).
- In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving. (FARS and GES)
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
- Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)
Take the interactive Distraction.gov CHALLENGE online quiz! Use the Wreck-Less Checklist to make yourself a safer driver. Submit stories of distracted driving that you observe to the Decide to Drive campaign.