Florida Highway Patrol, Hit and Run, Uncategorized

FHP promotes Hit-and-Run Awareness

Stay_at_Scene

From year to year, Florida has seen the amount of hit and run crashes remain steady, with nearly 25 percent of all crashes involving a hit and run. Although the majority of hit and run crashes only result in property damage, hit and run crashes can be deadly. The Stay at the Scene campaign aims to reduce the number of hit and run crashes in Florida by educating drivers on their responsibilities if involved in a crash and the serious consequences they face if they choose not to Stay at the Scene.

The penalties for hit and run drivers changed on July 1, 2014 when the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act (section 316.027, Florida Statutes) was signed into Florida law. The statute is named after Aaron Cohen, a 31-year-old avid cyclist and father of two that was fatally struck by an alcohol impaired driver that fled the crash scene in February 2012 in central Florida. The hit and run driver was sentenced to two years in prison, a lesser sentence than what the motorist would have served had he been sentenced on a DUI manslaughter charge. The Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act imposes a mandatory minimum of 4 years for a driver convicted of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in a fatality.

HIT AND RUN PENALTIES

For more information, see Florida Statutes 316.061316.027.
Leaving the scene of the crash with:
PROPERTY DAMAGE Second Degree Misdemeanor
Up to 60 days in prison and $500 fine
INJURIES Second or third degree felony
Revoked license for at least 3 years
Up to five years in prison and $5,000 fine
FATALITIES First degree felony
Revoked license for at least three years
Mandatory minimum of 4 years in prison, up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine

If you are involved in a crash, stay at the scene and call for help. It’s not just the law – you could save a life.

If you have information on a hit and run crash vehicle and/or driver, you can report it anonymously to Crime Stoppers.

____________________________________________________________

This article is a reprint of information provided by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol in recognition of  Hit and Run Awareness Month.   In partnership with the Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and Florida Association of Crime Stoppers, the initiative seeks to reduce the number of hit and run crashes in Florida and encourage individuals to anonymously report information to solve hit and run investigations.

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autonomous vehicles, car crashes, Collisions, Crashes and Collisions, Distracted Driving, driverless technology, Driverless Vehicles, NHTSA, Road Safety Research, Self-Driving Cars, Technology, traffic fatalities, Traffic Safety

Defining safe behavior standards for autonomous vehicles

Google_self-driving_car

The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, in an average month, more than 150,000 people a month will be killed in traffic accidents around the world.  Around 90% of crashes are caused by human error – so will driverless cars reduce the number of incidences that lead to too many fatalities on the road?

In 2015, Nevada led the way in passing legislation regarding self-driving cars at the state level. Since then, several other states including California, Hawaii, Florida, Arizona and Oklahoma have proposed similar legislation to set standards for regulating self-driving cars. The problem with passing laws that regulate safety standards for autonomous vehicles (AVs) lies in not having a consistent standard defining “safe driving” in terms of how an AV can understand robotic rules of the road – every company that has forayed into the field is writing their standards in a different way. That is why some in the industry think the time has come to devise a standardized set of rules for how AVs should behave in different situations.

A team of researchers at Mobileye, a provider of AV technology, published a paper on a framework, “Responsibility-Sensitive Safety”, that outlines mathematical rules for various activities performed by AVs – lane-changing, pulling out into traffic and driving cautiously when pedestrians or other vehicles are partially occluded, etc. The framework covers all 37 pre-crash scenarios in the accident database maintained by National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It is hoped that this framework would be adopted as the basis of an open industry standard. A similar proposal, “Open Autonomous Safety”, was put forth by Voyage, another player in the AV field, that defines the correct, safe behavior for vehicles in a range of circumstances, including pedestrians being in the road, nearby vehicles reversing and arrival at a four-way stop. In addition, Voyage has made its internal safety procedures, materials and test code all open source, with the aim of providing a foundational safety resource in the industry.

Dr. Bryant Walker Smith, assistant professor in the School of Law and School of Engineering at the University of South Carolina, was interviewed about how self-driving cars can change the way people travel.

bryansmithred

Professor Smith welcomes the proposals from Mobileye and Voyage, but warns that it is too soon for regulators to “calcify dynamic conversations that are fundamentally technical in nature”. Researcher predict it will take years rather than months for the industry to cohere around a standard, but are optimistic it will eventually happen because discussions are already under way and because many people working in the field of autonomous vehicles are recent recruits from academia, who consider sharing and open-sourcing to be second nature.

 

blood alcohol concentration - BAC, blood alcohol levels - BAL, cannabis, Drug-Impaired Driving, Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI, DUID, DWAI, Field Sobriety Tests

Got a DUI/DWI Ticket?

redcar_motocyclecop

Were you pulled over by the police under suspicion of driving impaired? Here are some tips to help you get through the arrest:

  • Stay calm and don’t become belligerent. If you are nervous, police officers may think that you are hiding something or are intoxicated. Remaining calm and being polite are good ways to ensure that police officers do their job efficiently.
  • Clean out your glove box. Fumbling through these compartments to find your registration or insurance can be easily misinterpreted as intoxication. Keeping the glove box or center console neat and clean allows you to swiftly grab your identification and present it to a police officer.
  • Follow instructions without challenging the arresting officer. Be aware that any evidence found in your car could be used to support a DUI conviction. This includes open containers, drugs and paraphernalia.
  • Take the sobriety test. Many DUI/DWI defendants have been found not guilty due to a malfunctioning breath analyzing machine or an improperly administered blood or urine test. The truth is, you yourself may not know how intoxicated you are, so the breathalyzer might result in blood alcohol levels and concentration below the legal limit.
  • Get a blood test after release. Alcohol detection devices can be unreliable and malfunction.  It is a good idea to measure your BAC with a blood test after arrest. At trial, your attorney can use that evidence to raise possible defenses. This won’t work for driving impaired under the influence of cannabis, as BAC tests do not register the THC poisoning in your blood since it is deposited in the body’s fatty tissues such as the brain.
car crashes, Collisions, Crashes and Collisions, Distracted Driving, gesture control, Road Safety Research, Technology, Texting and Driving

Ending Distracted Driving Awareness Month With A View Toward Technology

Any activity that places either visual or manual demands on a driver substantially increases the risk of a crash. This includes texting, browsing, dialing a hand-held phone or engaging in conversation either with passengers or on a hands-free device that makes people react badly to hazards.

hand point The growing sales of luxury cars with advanced safety and comfort features have fueled the development of the automotive “gesture-recognition” market, expected to surpass $13 billion worldwide by 2024. Gesture control not only makes using various in-built systems easier, but also reduces the probability of causing a distraction-related collision by minimizing the need to take one’s eyes away from the road. But will gesture control really eliminate the dangers associated with the use of hands-free devices aimed at keeping driver’s eyes on the road?  

Consider a vehicle being driven at 40 mph and the driver needs to adjust the volume of the radio, change the channel or look at GPS, that might take the driver’s eyes away for about 1.2 seconds. A car traveling at that speed will cover more than 20 meters in 1.2 seconds, opening opportunities for a mishap just waiting to happen. Now combine this scenario with the multitude of features available in vehicles today such as infotainment systems in addition to the alarming rise in the use of mobile phones while driving. 

The idea behind gesture control is that instead of pressing a button, a driver waves his or her hand, points or otherwise gestures. So even with gesture control, the driver is still taking one hand off the wheel. Plus, the driver still has to look at the device to see which option to pick, so the driver’s eyes are still off the road.

Distraction happens in three forms – manual, visual and cognitive. With gesture control, the manual and visual elements are still at play; the crucial cognitive element of distraction does not change the nature of the cognitive distraction at all. It is essential for road safety that drivers think about driving – not about controlling the  newest “infotainment systems” that offer seamless connectivity with smartphones and other wireless devices.  Most infotainment systems are still operated by buttons and warrant a diversion of the driver’s attention, even if for just a little more than a second.

 

Distracted Driving, distressed driving, emotional driving, Stress, Stressful Driving

#Stress and #DistractedDriving

stressed driver

Stress, no matter the source, can lead to distracted driving.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Traffic Safety Facts April, 2019 Research Note reported that nine percent of fatal crashes in 2017 were reported as distraction- affected crashes, killing 3,166 people. The age group consisting of 15 to 19 year-olds had the largest proportion of drivers who were reported as being involved in distraction-affected crashes.

The NHTSA recently pinpointed stress, or driving under the influence of emotions – distressed driving – as a cause of as many as 80% of crashes involving distracted driving.  While distressed driving is not punishable under the law, it may have severe public safety consequences.

Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger—whether it is real or imagined—the body’s defenses kick into high gear in an automatic process known as the “stress response.” The body’s nervous system, however,  isn’t very good at distinguishing between emotional and physical threats. If you become super stressed over an argument, a work deadline, or a mountain of bills, your body can react just as strongly as if you are facing a true life-or-death situation.

According to the widely validated Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, these are the top ten stressful life events for adults:

  • Death of a spouse
  • Divorce
  • Marriage separation
  • Imprisonment
  • Death of a close family member
  • Injury or illness
  • Marriage
  • Job loss
  • Marriage reconciliation
  • Retirement

Even if you have not experienced any of these, or are feeling overly happy, sad, angry, excited or sad, drivers can suffer from impairments that drastically reduce their safety on the road.

During #NationalStressAwarenessMonth that coincides with #DistractedDrivingAwarenessMonth, here are some tips on how to beat emotional stress that might render you a driving hazard:

1) Look after yourself physically
Stress raises your cortisol levels which have a big impact on your physical well-being as well as your emotional state. It’s important to remember to look after yourself in all the usual ways: getting enough sleep, eating well and taking regular exercise.

2) Learn to stop worrying
You can learn to recognize and treat rising feelings of anxiety. Some people get back aches when they are over-stressed, in others stress might manifest itself as pain in other parts of the body – these are signs that you are experiencing anxiety and body signals telling you to stop, recalculate and get going calmly down the right road again.

3) Challenge unhelpful thoughts
The way that we think about things has an impact on our mood, anxiety and stress levels. Many of these thoughts occur outside of our control and can be negative or unhelpful. It is therefore important to remember that they are just thoughts, without any real basis, and are not necessarily facts. Even though we may believe a lot of our unhelpful thoughts when we are feeling low, anxious or stressed, it is good to remember that they should be questioned, as they are often based on wrong assumptions.

blood alcohol concentration - BAC, blood alcohol levels - BAL, cannabis, Crashes and Collisions, Drug-Impaired Driving, Drunk Driving, DUI/DWI/OWI/OWAI, DUID, DWAI, FARS, fatalities, Field Sobriety Tests, Legislative Affairs, marajuana, medical marijuana, NHTSA, Road Safety Research, traffic fatalities, Traffic Safety, Victims of DUI

4/20 = a DUI will hit your wallet

marijuana_USA_March_2019

April 20th is known to many as 4/20, or “Weed Day”.  People around the world are celebrating the unofficial marijuana holiday by gathering for rallies, smoke-outs, policy discussions and thousands of other weed-centric events. The legal US cannabis market is currently valued at over $10 billion; “green stocks” are publicly traded, reporting strong sales since Canada legalized pot and several US states voted to approve recreational and medical marijuana use.

Cannabis has also gone mainstream thanks to big investments and partnerships between marijuana sellers and blue chip consumer companies. Experts are projecting it could grow to $100 billion in the US, and $1 trillion globally in the next five years. although prices have been dropping as competition has increased now that more states are legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational use.  These include the overall prices for products such as ingestibles, topical creams, vaporizers/vape pens and pre-rolled joints.

The ‘‘Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018″, referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill,  legalized the production of hemp as an agricultural commodity while removing it from the list of controlled substances.  Industrial hemp is not marijuana, although it is a different variety of the same species. The bill listed hemp as a covered commodity under crop insurance and directed the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation board to streamline the process for developing hemp policies, and requires the secretary of agriculture to conduct a study of the hemp-related agricultural pilot programs and other agricultural and academic research on the subject, to determine the economic viability of a domestic hemp market.

Starting with Oregon in 1973, individual states began to liberalize cannabis laws through decriminalization. In 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis, sparking a trend that spread to over 30 states by 2017. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize cannabis for recreational use. There still are no laws written specifically to address driving impaired while under the influence of cannabis and its associated products:

  • Marijuana is figuring into more fatal crashes overall. In 2013, drivers tested positive for the drug in about 10 percent of all fatal crashes. By 2016, it was 20 percent.
  • More drivers are testing positive for marijuana and nothing else. Of the drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 who tested positive for cannabinoids, more than 52 percent had no alcohol in their system. By 2016, it had grown to 69 percent.
  • The average age of drivers in deadly crashes in 2015 who tested positive for marijuana was nearly 35, with a quarter of them over 40.
  • In 2016, of the 115 drivers in fatal wrecks who tested positive for marijuana use, 71 were found to have Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, in their blood, indicating use within hours, according to state data. Of those, 63 percent were over 5 nanograms per milliliter, the state’s limit for driving.

Both alcohol and marijuana can affect a driver’s ability to think and solve problems, coordination, reaction time, judgment, memory and mood. While science has figured out just exactly how alcohol impacts the body’s organs, systems and functions, the same cannot be said of cannabis. Results of field sobriety tests, including blood and urine sampling as well as breathalyzers, can tell if a driver’s blood alcohol level is over the legal limit. No test can tell whether a driver is too high to drive because of smoking or inhaling, popping pills, eating or vaporizing cannabis products. Unlike alcohol, the active ingredients that cause the cannabis high can remain detectable in the blood stream for days or weeks; unlike alcohol, the impairment does not wears off in a matter of hours, and no amount of food intake will change the effects. Law enforcement officials, prosecutors and public policy makers concede there’s still too little information about marijuana and how it is detected to understand just how much the drug is affecting traffic fatalities.

Advocacy, ridesharing

#What’sMyName ride-sharing campaign aims for rider safety

What's_My_Name_signage

Uber is partnering with universities throughout the country to launch a national effort to help students learn how to safely use #ridesharing services. In addition to campuses designating pickup zones for riders, both Uber and Lyft have instituted new safety features on their ridesharing app and user policies. The initiative was inspired by the death of Samantha Josephson, a student who was kidnapped and murdered in March after getting into a vehicle that she believed to be her Uber ride.  The man charged with that horrendous crime was not affiliated with Uber.  Her death has raised awareness of safety concerns when people use ride-hailing services.

The “What’s My Name” campaign was launched in partnership with Josephson’s alma mater, the University of South Carolina.  Ride services provide the rider’s name to the driver while also providing the driver’s name and license plate number to the rider. Uber also features a push notification system to its app that will remind riders of the “Check Your Ride” steps just before their car arrives. The steps alert riders of the ways to make sure they are getting into the right car with the right driver by matching the license plate, make, model and color of the vehicle, and the driver’s name and photo to the details in the app.

What's my name video

Also being piloted at the University of South Carolina is a rides voucher program being developed by Uber to provide discounted services for students at times when other transportation options are limited or not available. The ride-sharing giant has also teamed up with the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators to invest $100,000 in a partnership to educate college students about safety and “Check Your Ride” tips.

Advocacy, car crashes, Collisions, Crashes and Collisions, Distracted Driving, driving behaviors, fatalities, Head-on Collisions, Hit and Run, Multi-Vehicle Crashes, NHTSA, Rear-End Crashes, Road Safety Research, Texting and Driving, traffic fatalities, Traffic Safety

Put Your Phone Away or Get Ready to Pay – U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

UText_Campaign_info

Distracted driving has become a national epidemic—endangering passengers, adjacent vehicle occupants, motorcyclists and bicyclists, and nearby pedestrians. Distracted driving involves a range of activities, from texting or talking on the cell phone to adjusting the radio station, applying makeup, eating, chatting with other passengers, smoking or taking a sip of your drink…. anything that can distract a driver from the essential task of safe driving.

Texting has become one of the most common, pervasive forms of distracted driving, and too many drivers are succumbing to this deadly habit, illegal in all states and the District of Columbia except Arizona, Montana, and Missouri. April is DISTRACTED DRIVING AWARENESS MONTH and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is partnering with state and local officials to step up enforcement and catch distracted drivers.  From April 11 to April 15, the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign will in full force as a national high-visibility effort to enforce distracted-driving laws. Consider the frightening statistics behind this dangerous trend:

• Between 2012-2017, nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver.
• According to NHTSA, there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017. While this reflects a 9 percent decrease from 2016 to 2017, there is still much work to be done. In the last six years, 9.5 percent of all fatal crashes involved a distracted driver.
• Texting while driving has become an especially problematic trend among younger drivers. In fact, in 2017, 8 percent of people killed in teen (15-19) driving crashes died when the teen drivers were distracted at the times of the crashes.
• According to NHTSA, young drivers 16- to 24-years-old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007.
• Female drivers with a cell phone have been more likely to be involved in fatal distracted driving crashes as compared to male drivers every year since 2012.
Safety Tips for Driving
• If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it is safe to text.
• Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
• Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving. Cell phone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of the vehicle until you arrive at your destination.
Put Your Phone Away or Get Ready to Pay
• When you get behind the wheel, be an example to your family and friends by putting your phone away. Texting and driving isn’t trendy “normal” behavior—it’s a selfish, deadly and, oftentimes, illegal activity that could kill you, a loved one, a friend, or a stranger.
• In 47 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, texting while driving is an illegal, ticketable offense. You could end up paying a hefty fine, and could get points on your license.
• If you see something, say something. If your friends text while driving, tell them to stop. Listen to your passengers: If they catch you texting while driving and tell you to put your phone away, put it down.

Remember, when you get behind the wheel, put your phone away and don’t get caught in the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. dragnet focused on making our roads safer for all.
For more information, visit http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.

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Source:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation

Uncategorized

Hop in the back seat to enjoy National Beer Day on April 7th

Rides_on_Tap

Today is National Beer Day and the folks at Lyft have partnered with the Florida Brewers Guild for the ride smart to Florida breweries campaign.  The RIDES ON TAP code BEERDAY19 gives Lyft riders 50% off two rides (up to $5 each) to and from participating breweries.

Starting tomorrow, the FLGUILD19 code will get riders 25% off two rides (up to $5 each)to and from the same list of breweries, valid until July 6.

Look for your favorite brewery in the list of participating Florida breweries:
26 Degree Brewing Company / 7venth Sun Brewery / 81Bay Brewing Company / A Little Madness Brewing Company / Arkane Aleworks / Atlantic Beach Brewing Company /
Barrel of Monks Brewing / BeachFly Brewing Company / Beat Culture Brewery / Brew Bus Brewing / Broken Strings Brewery / Bullfrog Creek Brewing Co / Cage Brewing /
Caledonia Brewing / Calusa Brewing / Central 28 Beer Co / Cigar City Brewing / Concrete Beach Brewery / Craft Life Brewing /  Crooked Rooster Brewery /  Crooked Thumb Brewery / Cueni Brewing Co / Cypress & Grove Brewing Company / Daytona Beach Brewing Company / Deviant Wolfe Brewing / Dissent Craft Brewing Company / Due South Brewing Company /  Dunedin Brewery / Engine 15 Brewing Co / Escape Brewing Company / First Magnitude Brewing Co / Green Bench Brewing Co / Hell ‘n Blazes Brewing Co / Hidden Springs Ale Works / In The Loop Brewing / Ivanhoe Park Brewing Co / Leaven Brewing / Legacy Ale Works / Lemonstreet Brewing Company / Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company / Main & Six Brewing Company / Marker 48 Brewing / Mastry’s Brewing Co / Ology Brewing Co / Oviedo Brewing Company / Palm City Brewing /
Pareidolia Brewing Co / Park Pizza & Brewing Co / Pensacola Bay Brewery / Perfect Plain Brewing Co / Playalinda Brewing Company / Proof Brewing Company / Reve Brewing /
RockPit Brewing / Sanford Brewing Company / Six Ten Brewing / Spahr Brewing Company / Suncreek Brewery / Swamp Head Brewery / Swan Brewing / Tactical Brewing Company / Tampa Beer Works / Tarpon River Brewing / The Florida Brewery /
Veterans United Craft Brewery / Walking Tree Brewery / West Palm Brewery / Wicked Barley Brewing Company / Wops Brewing Company / Zephyrhills Brewing Company

Advocacy, car crashes, Collisions, Crashes and Collisions, Distracted Driving, driving behaviors, fatalities, Property Damage, Rear-End Crashes, Road Safety Research, teen drivers, traffic fatalities, Traffic Safety

Distracted Driving Deaths Have No Regard for Age

distracted_driving_monthDistracted Driving Awareness Month is a united effort among government agencies, public safety organizations and driver improvement enterprises to recognize the dangers of and eliminate preventable deaths from distracted driving.
Distracted Driving among Teens: How Can We Educate and Protect
Our Youth?“cited 3,000 teen deaths occur every year from texting and driving nationwide,  in addition to 300,000 injuries per year resulting from crashes involving texting while driving.  In fact, car crashes are the leading cause of death in drivers ages 16-19. Anything that causes a driver to take his or her focus off the tasks of driving  is a distraction.

THREE LETHAL DISTRACTIONS

Visual distraction –  taking your eyes are off the road, even for a few seconds
Manual distraction –  taking your hands are off the wheel
Cognitive distraction –  focusing on something other than driving

3_distractions

Texting while driving is a combination of all three of distractions. For a visualization of how far you can travel in five seconds, think the length of a football field – that’s a long distance to cover when you aren’t looking where you’re going.

Forty-seven states and Washington, D.C. have made texting while driving illegal. Besides avoiding a hefty fine, some as high as $500, resisting the urge to text can save lives. Even using a hands-free device is distracting for the driver, as it still limits a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle properly.  In the 2017 volume of Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, the “Mobile phone use while driving” literary review found 60 studies on mobile phone use, concluding that hands-free mobile phones do not provide greater safety than hand-held mobile phones. Additionally, the review identified four phases in the process of understanding the impacts of mobile phone while driving  including evidence that conversations with the driver are also deterrents to safe driving.  Much of the research points to the fact that it is equally important to have your mind free of distractions while driving.

To avoid distracted driving:

  • Set your phone or app to “driving” mode. This will automatically respond with a message while you’re driving.
  • Be mindful of when you contact your friends and family – don’t text or call someone if you know they are or could be driving.
  • Pull off to the side of the road if a cellphone must be handled (absolutely must respond to a text, GPS navigation tasks, etc.).

 

car crashes, Collisions, Crashes and Collisions, Distracted Driving, driving behaviors, Head-on Collisions, Hit and Run, NHTSA, Rear-End Crashes

No Fooling – April is Distracted Driving Month!

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving. Texting is the most alarming distraction.     NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMIN

Distracted Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there were 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes on U.S. roadways during 2017.  Of these, 3,166 people were killed by distracted driving. Driving is the most complex activity the vast majority of Americans will engage in during any given day. A driver must know 1,500 separate skills to drive a car properly – you simply cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.

It has been estimated by some researchers that for every mile that a vehicle travels, a driver will on average make 20 separate control decisions related to arriving at their destination.  It makes sense that the faster you go, the quicker you have to make driving decisions or completely overlook a critical decision entirely. Impaired drivers tend to make poor or no decisions while their car is in motion. In 35% of all fatal crashes, the driver took no action at all to avoid the collision prior to impact. You really don’t want to answer a cell phone at the same time you are driving, let alone when you have been drinking, taking any type of drugs – illicit, prescription or over-the-counter – or smoking marijuana. A mild- to moderately-intoxicated driver can easily become overwhelmed just driving, without any other distractions. Now add a cell phone and the attention one must pay to the conversation going on, especially distracting when emotions are involved and you got trouble!

The NHTSA found texting to be the most dangerous and alarming distraction on the road. Their research found that reading a text while driving at 55 miles per hour takes one’s eyes off the road the equivalent amount of time as driving across a football field blindfolded. Texting and driving absorb a driver’s visual, manual, and cognitive attention – creating the deadliest type of distraction on the road. Consider these sobering statistics:

  • Around 660,000 drivers use their cell phones while driving during daylight hours.
  • Texting and driving are six times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving. Between 2012-2017, nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver.
  • Texting while driving has become an especially problematic trend among younger drivers. In fact, in 2017, 8% percent of people killed in teen (15-19) driving crashes died when the teen drivers were distracted at the times of the crashes. Young drivers 16- to 24-years-old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007. Every day, 11 teenagers die from texting and driving accidents.
  • Female drivers with a cell phone have been more likely to be involved in fatal distracted driving crashes as compared to male drivers every year since 2012.
  • Texting and driving increase the risk of an accident by about 23 times.
  • Cell phone use is behind only drivers “being lost in thought” in causing the most distracted driving accidents.
  • About 25% of teenagers admit to answering texts once or more every time they drive.
  • Studies have proven that teens who text and drive veer out of their lanes around 10% of their total drive time.

On-the-job crashes cost employers more than $24,500 per crash, $150,000 per injury, and $3.6 million per fatality. And distracted driving caused by hand-held mobile device use is an emerging contributor to these accidents.  An AAA study found that using voice commands to send text messages and emails from behind the wheel, which is marketed as a safer alternative for drivers, actually more distracting and dangerous than simply talking on a cellphone.

Scientific studies have confirmed that even talking on a hands-free cell phone is just as distracting as holding one to your ear, suggesting it is the conversation that is distracting. Studies have also found that a conversation was more distracting to the driver if the passenger was under the age of 24.

Researchers found that individuals who listen to music over 95 decibels (very loud) causes the human brain’s reaction time to decrease by 25%.

Keep in mind that your response to a potential hazard on the road may just take you that much longer to react.