Driver Distractions Present Significant Dangers

In September of this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did research on driver distractions. Based on the information in its databases, the NHTSA concluded that 5,870 people lost their lives and 515,000 people were injured in 2008 in car accidents in which some form of driver distraction was reported on the police report. However, the NHTSA concedes that the "true numbers" are likely greater since it is often difficult for officers to identify the distraction and its contribution to the crash.

The NHTSA reports that the total number of fatal car accidents in the United States in 2008 was 34,017 in which 37,261 individuals were killed. Driver distraction was responsible for 16% of those fatalities. According to the NGTSA, the percentage of fatalities reportedly associated with driver distraction has increased over the last four years. In 2004, the fatalities involving driver distraction was at 12%.

Further, 2,346,000 people were injured in car accidents in 2008 with driver distraction causing 22% of those injuries.

The NHTSA also reports that the under-20 age group is the age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers. 16% of all under-20 drivers in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. However, teenagers are not the only drivers who are affected by distractions. The next age group with the greatest proportion was the 20-to-29 age group. 12% of all 20 to 29-year-old drivers in fatal crashes were distracted. The 30-39, 40-49, and 60-69 age groups involved distracted drivers in 10% of the fatal accidents, with the 50-59 age group at 9%.

We are consistently bombarded with distraction while driving. We eat, drink, use our cell phones, text, daydream, etc.; and we rarely give driving the attention it deserves because we refuse to put the many other things going on in our lives to the side while we are behind the wheel. However, it is this inattentiveness to the road and our surroundings that causes accidents, severely injuring people and often taking their lives.

With these facts from the NHTSA, I just hope to create awareness.

DRIVERS, BE CAREFUL!! We need to protect the public.

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