Road to Zero Safety Priority Statement
Proposed Position: Legislative action, enforcement, and education on distracted driving should be increased.
Potential Crashes Avoided: 36%, or about 2.3 million police-reported crashes annually.
To view the full Distracted Driving Priority Statement, click here.
In the U.S., distracted driving took at least 3,450 lives in 2016 alone, and many acknowledge this is underreported. At the time of fatal crashes, teens were the largest age group reported as distracted. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found in an annual Traffic Safety Culture Index survey that nearly half of respondents reported talking on a hand-held phone in the past 30 days and 45% and almost 35% said they had read or sent a text message or email, respectively. As a result of these startling figures, 47 States and Washington, D.C. have banned text messaging for all drivers, of which 43 allow for primary enforcement and 16 states have hand-held cell phone use bans.
Research at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) has estimated that potentially 36% of crashes occurring in the U.S. annually could be avoided if no distraction was present to the driver. Numerous studies have shown that crashes and resulting injuries would be reduced if drivers did not use mobile phones while operating their vehicle. Texting bans enacted in 47 states and hand-held bans in 16 states are a good start towards combatting distracted driving. However, more can be done to enact additional legislation and promote education and enforcement to reduce distracted driving..
Safe driving requires 100% of a driver’s attention at all times. Distracted driving has become all too common today. While distracted driving is a broad term covering any activity that detracts from driver attention, mobile phone use has quickly become the most pressing distraction to address. Texting while driving is an increasing concern because it encompasses all 3 types of driver distraction – cognitive, manual, and visual. The AAA Foundation report found roughly 97% of drivers view texting or emailing while driving as a serious safety threat. Despite this, 45% of drivers report having read a text or e-mail while driving in the past 30 days and nearly 35% typed one. These figures highlight that there is a need for much more to be done to curtail the rates of distracted driving, especially mobile phone use.
Supporters of Road to Zero Coalition Priority Statement on Distracted Driving:
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