Crashes caused by distracted driving led to more than 3,000 deaths in 2020, an average of almost nine fatalities per day, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).
Smartphones aren’t the only source of distraction
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a time dedicated to the prevention of distracted driving. Distracted driving includes everything from smartphone activity to eating while driving. There are three types of distraction:
- visual, which is when the driver takes their eyes off of the road
- manual, when the driver takes their hands off of the steering wheel, and
- cognitive, which involves the driver taking their mind off the road in front of them.
Using a smartphone involves all three of these at once.
“Using a mobile device while driving is the ultimate form of distraction, but distraction comes in many forms,” said Mark Chung, executive vice president of roadway practice at NSC. “You need to just drive when you’re behind the wheel; it doesn’t matter if you’re talking on speaker phone, mentally preoccupied, or eating breakfast on your way to work, it’s distracting and puts you and others in danger while you’re driving. It’s unnecessary and not worth the risk.”
‘Drivers need to stop multitasking while driving’
The NSC states that it’s “imperative that drivers stop trying to multitask while operating a motor vehicle and instead, focus on the task of driving for the safety of all road users, including themselves.”
To better combat distracted driving, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has included support for vehicle technology that will detect and deter distracted driving as part of its National Roadway Safety Strategy, according to the NSC. Use of safer vehicles is one of the pillars of the Safe System Approach the DOT plans on using to make highways safer.
For more information on Distracted Driving Awareness Month, click here.