Have you ever been hit by a distracted driver? Unfortunately, it happens all the time. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2,841 people were killed by distracted drivers in 2018 and another 400,000 were injured.
In an attempt to curb the dangers of distraction behind the wheel, NHTSA has initiated a high-visibility enforcement campaign called “U Drive, U Text, U Pay.” Law enforcement around the country will be taking part in extra enforcement, and new ads in English and Spanish will air on TV, radio and digital platforms. The enforcement and ads are targeted toward those 18-34, who are among the most likely to drive distracted.
“Distracted driving can cause accidents and worse – this educational campaign reminds drivers to focus on the road and drive safely,” commented the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.
Distracted driving can be deadly
According to NHTSA, distracted driving is all too common on our nation’s roadways. In 2018:
- 8% of all fatal crashes involved a distraction-affected driver
- 14% of all police-reported motor vehicle accidents involved distraction
- 15% of all injury crashes involved a distracted driver
- 506 non-occupants (pedestrians, bikers and others) were killed in motor vehicle crashes with distracted drivers
Distractions are everywhere
When we think of distracted drivers, we often think of people talking on their cellphones or texting behind the wheel. Those are classic examples of distraction, but there are many types of dangerous distraction, including:
- Other occupants of the vehicle
- An object or person outside the vehicle
- A moving or dropped object in the vehicle
- Talking or listening to a cellphone
- Manipulating a cellphone, such as texting or using an app
- Adjusting the radio or climate controls
- Using other components or controls, such as manipulating the mirror, adjusting the seat or operating on-board navigational devices
- Reaching for a device or object, such as a CD, headphones or a navigational device
- Eating and drinking
- Being lost in thought or daydreaming
All of these are potentially dangerous. If you are in a crash with someone who was distracted by anything, there is a good chance that person would be considered negligent.
“Taking your eyes off the road for a moment is all it takes to cause a crash. No call or text is worth a life,” says NHTSA’s deputy administrator.