Cell Phone Use Remains Distraction: Cell Phone Distraction Second Biggest Distraction Cause of Death
Over the last two years, more than 65,000 people have lost their lives in automobile accidents nationwide. And now, thanks to a an analysis of distracted driving accidents by Erie Insurance, in cooperation with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), research points to the reported causes of such accidents, using data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Cell phone use – including talking and texting – is now the second-most commonly cited cause for distracted driving.
Researchers started by defining distracted driving as any activity or circumstance that “takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off your primary task of driving safely.” They looked specifically at police reports and what officers cited on their accident reports.
The analysis compiled the top ten distractions cited in fatal car crashes:
- Generally daydreaming or “lost in thought – 62%
- Cell phone use, including talking and texting – 12%
- Looking at outside person, object or event – 7%
- Talking or looking at other occupants in the car – 5%
- Using or reaching for a device, like a GPS device or a pair of headphones – 2%
- Eating or drinking – 2%
- Adjusting the radio or temperature controls – 2%
- Adjusting mirrors, seats or built in navigation system – 1%
- Moving object inside the vehicle, such as a pet or an insect – 1%
- Smoking related, such as lighting or putting out a cigarette – 1%
Researchers noted that such data isn’t scientific, in that it’s based on what a police officer judges to be a cause, or what a driver is willing to admit. Drivers don’t necessarily feel comfortable citing some types of distraction when speaking to police after a fatal crash. They suggest the “daydreaming” designation may be over-reported, and the others may be under-reported.
Families across Texas are being devastated by the continuing increase in auto accidents involving distracted driving, including talking and texting on a cell phone. A number of possible methods of resolving the problem have been suggested. Perhaps it’s time to look into them. In the meantime, drivers should pay attention to their driving and let the call go to voice mail, or wait until you pull over to respond to a text message.