Getting The Facts On Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents in Oklahoma and across the nation. It is important for residents of Oklahoma to understand the facts about distracted driving and the danger it poses.

Distracted driving includes any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road. Some examples of distracted driving include talking on a cellphone, texting, eating, drinking, reading maps, personal grooming, tuning the radio, watching videos or using a navigation system. Of all of these activities, texting and driving is especially dangerous, as it diverts the driver's manual, cognitive and visual attention away from the road. However, any of these distractions can pose a threat to others on the road as well, including pedestrians and other bystanders.

Although the number of fatal distracted-driving accidents went down slightly in 2012 to 3,328, down from 3,360 in 2011, the number of people injured in distracted driving accidents rose 9 percent in 2012 jumping to approximately 421,000 injured versus 387,000 injured in 2011.

Cellphone use while behind the wheel is shockingly common. At any moment during the day nationwide, about 660,000 drivers are utilizing an electronic device such as a cellphone while behind the wheel. This number has stayed constant for the past five years.

Young drivers are especially affected by distracted driving. In fact, drivers between the ages of 20 and 29 comprise nearly 30 percent of distracted drivers in deadly accidents. In addition, 25 percent of teenage drivers respond to text messages at least once each time they get behind the wheel.

As these statistics show, distracted driving is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. In the end, staying focused on the task at hand -- driving -- is a good way to ensure one does not cause a serious or even deadly accident.

Source: distraction.gov, "What Is Distracted Driving?," accessed Jan. 25, 2015

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