Distracted driving is incredibly common, even though it has the potential to cause serious injuries. Texting, in particular, is one of the most dangerous forms of distraction, yet many drivers still admit to doing it.
There are laws in most states that make it illegal to be distracted behind the wheel, but that doesn’t stop everyone. Distracted driving is also hard to police, making it difficult to enforce the laws.
How common is distracted driving?
It’s believed that around seven out of 10 people who are driving are also engaging in smartphone-related activities at the same time, according to AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign from 2018. This attempt to multitask might seem like a smart idea at the time, but the reality is that people can’t multitask well, even if they want to. When you focus on one thing, your focus on anything else is likely to suffer, and that means that drivers who aren’t paying attention may end up involved in a crash.
North Carolina has had laws against texting and driving since 2009, but that hasn’t stopped people from continuing to text and drive. In 2017, the North Carolina Highway Patrol reported 765 citations for texting in driving. In February 2018, there had already been 36.
What’s the problem with texting and driving?
Whether you send or receive a text message, it’s dangerous. When you read or send a message, the average time you’re looking away from the road is 4.6 seconds. That’s long enough to hit someone’s tail end because of missing a stop sign or even to go over a rumble strip and leave the roadway.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that 37,461 people were killed in 2016, the latest reported year. Out of those drivers, 3,450 were involved in crashes related to distracted driving.
What can drivers do to avoid distracted driving collisions?
For drivers who would like to avoid collisions, the best tip is to avoid using electronics inside the vehicle. Pay attention to the actions of drivers around you, and be aware that others may be distracted. Paying attention to your surroundings may help you avoid a crash with someone else who violates a traffic law.