People driving down the road beside you are doing some totally outrageous – and very dangerous things like taking selfies, changing clothes, putting in contact lenses or eye drops, curling eyelashes, and even scratching off lottery tickets. In an online survey of 1,915 of U.S. drivers over the age of 18 and older by Harris Poll on behalf of Erie Insurance, these activities are simply the tip of the iceberg.
April is National Distracted Driving Month calling attention to the things we do in a car every day that could have serious consequences. Here are just a few of the statistics:
At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010.
What qualifies as distracted driving?
According to Doug Smith, senior vice president of personal lines at Erie Insurance, “Anything that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel, or their mind off their primary task of driving safely.” For more information on the study, https://www.erieinsurance.com/about-us/newsroom/press-releases/2015/distracted-driving
Texas had a total of 90,937 crashes statewide in 2012 involved distracted driving such as driver inattention or cell phone use, resulting in 471 deaths and 18,594 serious injuries, according to the Texas Department of Transportation - a 13% increase in distracted driving fatalities in a single year. And in Houston one death and 791 serious injuries resulted from 4,662 distracted driving crashes.
So what is everyone doing while they’re driving?
Besides the obvious phone distractions of texting and talking, other distractions people admitted to range from public displays of affection to person grooming to taking selfies.
Wondering about the percentages?
Respondents to the Harris Poll admitted to the following behavior while driving.
Romantic encounter/PDA 15%
Combing/styling hair 15%
Changing Clothes 9%
Putting on make-up 8%
Brushing/flossing teeth 4%
Taking selfies 4%
Other distractions included putting in contact lenses or eye drops, curling lashes, scratching off lottery tickets, and even playing the guitar while driving.
Drivers in the South texted the most – 35%
Men are more likely to text – 35% vs women at 28%
Younger drivers text more. 18-34 age range tops the list at 51%
Is Hands-Free the Answer?
According the National Safety Council, 80% of American drivers believe hands-free devices are safer than using a handheld phone. But that is just not the case. More than 30 studies show hands-free devices are no safer because the brain remains distracted by the conversation. When talking on a cell phone, drivers can miss seeing up to half of what's around them, such as traffic lights, stop signs and pedestrians.
The National Safety Council goes on to state that “There is no safe way to use a cell phone and drive – even with a hands-free device. Protect the ones you love – including yourself – and pledge to stop using your phone behind the wheel. Calls kill. No one should ever die from such a completely preventable cause.”
Take the Focused Driver Challenge and pledge to drive cell free.
At Dean & Draper we want you to be safe as you move through your day. Please consider taking the pledge to drive cell free – for your own sake as well as those who are sharing the road with you.
Dean & Draper is a Trusted Choice insurance agency representing over 200 insurance companies. For over 35 years we have offered a trusted freedom of choice to our clients. ContactUs.