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Distracted Driving — More Research, More Danger

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 4, 2019


Teenagers come first in this report.

AAA says the most distracted drivers in the country are teenagers. That’s no surprise. Young adults — from stats we’ve read — are the next most distracted. AAA says from 2013 to 2017 they killed over 3,500 people while driving distracted. These statistics were released by AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety. It does so every year as it marks what AAA calls the 100 most dangerous days for traffic fatalities.

That is the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The study looks at information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Fatality Analysis Reporting System and at drivers age 15 to 18. Their driving permissions range from learners permits to restricted license to full driving privileges.

AAA Executive Director Dr. David Yang said speeding and driving while drinking are the main causes of those 3,500 deaths.

“Crash data shows that teens are a vulnerable driver group with a higher probability of being involved in crashes,” Yang said. “And while teens may make mistakes when first learning to drive, it is important to continue educating them about safety behind the wheel so they avoid the reckless behaviors that put themselves and others at risk on the road.”

The stats are frightening:

  52% of teens admit to reading a text message or email while driving

  40% say they have sent texts or emails while driving

  58% of crashes were because teens did not use hands-free devices, or were texting

As for solutions? Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson is a pediatrician at Seattle, Washington’s Seattle Children’s Hospital. She gives lectures to parents and teens about unsafe driving. One of the cures — Swanson notes — is for parents to have a pact with their kids to not text or call their children when they know they’re driving.

“The first six months of driving are the most dangerous in our life time,” Swanson said. “We have to be ruthless about how to compartmentalize looking at our phones ... turn off the phone, put the do not disturb on or airplane mode.”

The National Safety Council has done an interesting study on the dangers of distracted driving. It talked to first responders like police, ambulance and others giving aid at the scene of a crash, a disabled vehicle and other incidents. The study also checked in with those driving by them.

  71% say they slow down and take photos of the emergency workers

  That’s three-times more than the 24% who take photos in normal driving

  60% say they post the crash photos — or whatever the emergency — on social media

  66% say they do so while driving by the incident

Doing such foolish photography has consequences and these are a big concern of the emergency workers polled by the National Safety Council. A frightening 16% of drivers taking photos at an emergency admit to hitting or nearly hitting the vehicle of a first responder.

  40 first responders were killed last year at the side of a road

  That’s up 60% from 2017

  21 people have died so far in 2019

  10 are police officers

  14 police officers were killed in these crashes in 2018

Kelly Nantel of the National Safety Council said, “What surprised us most about this study was the magnitude of people who are really exercising very dangerous behavior. They’re adding another level of exposure to these first responders.”

Nantel pointed out that all 50 states have what is called a move-over law. It requires drivers to give first responders some room when driving by a crash, a stalled vehicle, or whatever crisis the responder is responding to.

Police say about half of us do it.

Source links: ABC News, CBS News

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