In the past 20 years, distracted driving has become an anathema on U.S. roads. Too often we learn about motor vehicle crashes attributed to distracted driving that result in fatal and life-threatening injuries.
The truth is: These crashes are avoidable. Public services announcements, law enforcement vigilance and peer pressure can only go so far in the efforts to get the word out about the dangers of distracted driving. But who are these distracted drivers? Who are the people these campaigns should address?
People under 45
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 3,150 Americans died and 424,00 injured in 2019 as a result of distracted driving.
Drivers under the age of 45 represent the group most likely to subscribe to distracted driving, which is anything that takes a driver’s attention from the driving task. Examples include texting and talking on the phone, talking to passengers, eating and drinking, grooming, using the navigation system and reading.
Drivers aged 15 to 20 involved in fatal crashes were the most likely distracted than drivers of any other age, the NHTSA noted. Roughly 9 percent of this group were distracted in fatal collisions, compared with 6% for the 21 to 24 age group; 7% of the 25 to 34 age group; and 6% of the 35 to 44 age group.
A contributing factor: cell phone usage
Cell phone usage among these age groups is a contributing factor. Here is a breakdown of the cell phone usage among age groups in fatal crashes in 2019:
- Drivers aged 15 to 20: An estimated 17% distracted by cell phones
- Drivers aged 21 to 24: Roughly 16%
- Drivers aged 25 to 34: A whopping 23%
- Drivers aged 35 to 44: The second most with 20%
- Drivers aged 45 to 54: An estimated 12%
Most drivers understand the dangers caused by distracted driving. But this awareness campaign will not end anytime soon.
Protect yourself and stay alert
Pointing the finger of blame will not work when it comes to educating people about distracted driving. However, you must protect yourself and passengers from harm in doing your best to recognize and avoid distracted drivers. They are the ones who often drive much slower on roads and cross the center line.