Distracted driving has been around longer than most might assume, going back as far as the 1950s with car radios. However, distracted driving has gained more attention since the introduction of cellphones and texting. Drivers in Pennsylvania should know some statistics about distracted driving and the consequences.
Overview of distracted driving
Distracted driving is defined as any activity that causes a driver to lose focus on the road behind the wheel. Besides talking on a cellphone and texting, other distractions include talking to others, eating, drinking, multitasking and changing the radio.
Visual distractions cause the driver to look away from the road, such as checking a GPS or picking up dropped items. Manual distractions remove hands from the wheel, and cognitive distractions commonly involve losing focus from stress or emotions. Pennsylvania drivers commonly must pay a $50 fine for a first offense if no injury or fatalities occurred.
Distracted driving stats
In 2019, over 3,100 people were killed in distracted driving incidents, accounting for 8.7% of crashes according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Most states make using a phone while driving illegal, and some states allow use of hands-free devices. Studies report that drivers get distracted by cellphones for 10% of the driving time, and cellphones were a factor in 27% of crashes in 2015.
According to the Center for Disease Control, drivers 20-29 years old cause 25% of motor vehicle accidents involving distracted driving. Statistics show that drivers between 15 and 19 have a higher risk of getting distracted on the road and causing fatal accidents. In 2018, one in five fatal vehicle crashes with a distracted driver involved victims outside the vehicle.
Drivers should take steps to reduce the chances of crashes from distracted driving, such as keeping phones put away. The goal is to help everyone stay safe and alert on the road.