Distracted driving has been getting more attention now than ever before, and it’s quite scary. Since our last article in June 2018, a number of research articles and news stories have been published which should cause all of us to stop and look carefully at what is happening on our roads.
The research shows that there is a chance we are all guilty of it, and very likely to be involved in a distracted driver accident, as either the cause or the victim!
You will hear about it almost everywhere on the web. Countless numbers of articles and reports break down the data and statistics that show its growth and why we should avoid it. Occasionally you will notice digital and traditional ads speaking loudly against this topic because it has a financial effect. Distracted driving injures and kills good and innocent people here in Victoria.
Items and Activities That Are Known to Distract Drivers
Drivers have always faced distractions ever since cars were first invented. Before mobile phones, the distractions were mainly buildings, food, radio, passengers, pedestrians, and even events. Now we still have those distractions – and many more. They include: mobile phones, other digital devices like GPS navigation systems, tablets, screens for video or internet, the good old fashion radio and CD player, the personal item to reach nearby, and many more.
- Spike in learners and P-plate drivers using phones behind the wheel
- Authorities battling to tackle distracted drivers turning to phones while behind wheel
And with older drivers affected by other distractions being serious road risks.
Which all leads us to a landmark study that says Australian drivers are distracted behind the wheel 45% of the time.
To say drivers are now more distracted than ever before is an understatement.
Not only is it injuring and even ending the lives of people on the roads of Victoria, but it’s also a financial burden on governments and families. Due to the burden it’s creating, marketing messages are speaking loudly against it, including from insurance companies directly, and we should listen.
Sadly, even the TAC’s strong Ads on the topic have been unable to stem the increase in distracted driving.
Where you would think the second Ad would cause everyone to put their mobile phone as far away from them while driving.
Distracted Driving Research
Over the past decade, more research has revealed the prevalence and hazards of distracted driving. Here’s some research that will show you how big of a problem it is on the roads:
- Distractions were responsible for 32% of road accident deaths and injuries in Western Australia between 2005 and 2007. For every three fatal accidents on the road, one of them was because of a distracted driver.
- Distracted driving has grown so much that in 2004 drivers distracted by something inside their cars were a contributing factor to 748 crashes, compared with 1,585 crashes in 2011. Meaning that over a seven-year span, the problem has doubled.
- 9 People die on average every day in the United States because of distracted drivers.
- Mobile phones distract drivers the most out of all the possible distractions. If you text while driving, your chances of wrecking your car increase by 23 times, compared with a non-distracted driver.
- An adult passenger can be a distraction and could increase your chance of an accident by 60%. It’s important to recognise that children are known to be the most distracting passengers, four times more distracting than an adult passenger. Parent beware.
- 59% of Australians have reported using their phone while driving within the last 30 days.
- In Spain, Portugal, and the United States 31% of drivers reported that they have texted while driving within the past 30 days.
- A 2010 study by AAMI reported that 61% of drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 have either sent or have received a text message while driving within the last 30 days. That figure may actually be much lower than the true rate of texting while driving among young drivers.
- If you’re talking on a phone while driving your reaction time will become equivalent to a 70 year old. Drivers who aren’t texting are most likely talking on the phone.
- Out of every 10 crashes caused by teens, six will involve distracted teen drivers.
The Key Point – We’re Socially Distracted
If you think harder about each statistic, you will recognise that most of this data deals directly with our social behaviour. Mobile phones, passengers, talking on the phone, you name it – there is a social connection built into the distraction. Being social is not a bad thing unless it’s distracting you from the road. The truth is your social world, which includes your friends and your loved ones, don’t want to find out that their text conversation with you caused a motor vehicle accident. That’s the last thing a loved one would want to hear. Do a remarkable thing and don’t get socially distracted by driving.
Marketing Campaigns Against Distracted Driving
- The United Nations proclaimed in an ad campaign “Texting While Driving Kills. No SMS is worth an SOS” back in 2010.
- The NRMA was one of the biggest sponsors for the 2005 international distracted driving conferences. They’ve launched numerous marketing campaigns over the last decade against distracted driving.
- The United States government launched an aggressive campaign against distracted driving in April 2015 by heavily promoting how texting while driving kills people.
- The TAC campaign in Victoria, as highlighted above has been a standout campaign but as noted has sadly not stemmed the problem.
- Small foundations have launched campaigns against distracted driving because an influential person in the community died from being struck by a distracted driver. An example would be EndDD.org, which is an emotional campaign that details the tragic story of a woman who died because of a distracted driver.
Help Prevent Distracted Driving
Distractions destroy lives on the road. Cyclists, pedestrians, family members, and friends have died due to distractions in vehicles. Avoid distractions, even if it requires offending the individual texting you. If you’re ever riding with a driver who gives in to driving while distracted, kindly remind them to not give in. We should all be a voice in this movement and your example may help others change their habits.
In the end you might just prevent an accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving related car accident call Henry Carus + Associates for a FREE case review. We believe You Deserve More for your loss and our car accident lawyers will work to ensure you receive maximum compensation.
YOU DESERVE MORE™