The Dangers of Distracted Driving: Be Safe Out There

distracted driving dangers

You’re headed out for the summer, embarking on those great road trips to destinations unknown (or known). You’re gathering the family together for your yearly vacation or gathering the youth together for some camping…or to trek to the nearest temple for baptisms for the dead or to participate in youth programs. Basically, you’re putting some miles on that car for a variety of reasons, many of them Church related. We believe in enjoying a road trip, but we also believe in safety; be aware of the dangers of distracted driving. Be safe.

Basic Driving Statistics

driving statistics
egorshitikov / Pixabay

We don’t believe in spreading fear, but knowledge. So in the spirit of being aware of what’s going on in the world of driving—especially as you take to the road—here are a few driving stats from the Association for Safe International Road Travel:

  • 37,000 people die in car accidents each year
  • Of this number, just over 4% or 1,600 are below the age of 15
  • Of the same number, nearly 22% of deaths or 8,000 people occur in crashes with drivers between 16-20 years of age

Distracted Driving Statistics

distracted driving statistics
Government of Alberta / Flickr

Accidents happen. We all know this. Danger is inherent when driving vehicles made of hundreds and thousands pounds of material at high speeds. Yet, many of these accidents can be prevented. Case in point: distracted driving accidents occur because the driver is distracted; this is preventable. Here are some stats from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about distracted driving in 2015:

  • Nearly 3,500 traffic deaths were caused by distracted driving.
  • Another 391,000 people were injured.
  • Teenagers from ages 15-19 driving while distracted caused 10% of these deaths.
  • Luckily, the word about distracted driving is out, and 94% of teenagers know that it’s a problem, even if at least 35% of that number still do it anyway (AAA Foundation stats as quoted by LDS.org).
  • Unfortunately, age doesn’t necessarily equate to wisdom, because 23% of distracted driving deaths are caused by drivers in their 20s.

For more information try this website.

Is Distracted Driving Really That Bad?

distracted versus drunk driving
Greyerbaby / Pixabay

Before you tell yourself that at least you’re just driving while distracted and not while drunk (so it must not be that bad), check this out:

  • Distracted driving is actually more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving. How much more likely? Six times more likely (LDS.org).
  • While drunk driving fatalities have steadily decreased over the years, distracted driving fatalities are on the rise (Huffington Post).
  • Of driving distractions, mobile phone use is one of the biggest problems—big as in at least 660,000 drivers do this per day (NHTSA).
  • Sadly, young drivers are the biggest culprits with only 60% of drivers 16-20 years old thinking it’s unsafe to text while driving—which means that 40% aren’t nearly as concerned (Huffington Post).
  • Although a 5-second text seems like it’s not a big deal while driving, at 55 mph that 5 seconds takes your attention off the road for the length of a football field; that’s 300 feet (NHTSA).

As you can see, distracted driving is a problem. We want you to be safe out there. Remember, you’re hauling precious cargo, even if it is just yourself.

Allison Weber grew up in the Great Plains of northeastern Colorado, decided to see some mountains, and went to Provo, Utah where she got her BA in English at BYU. Afterwards she did some writing and traveling, and then went to Minnesota State University for a Masters in Technical Communication. Now she freelances as a writer, works on her novel, runs regularly and travels when the mood strikes