All it takes is five seconds to end a life
OTE is partners with the Oregon State Patrol (OSP) and as a part of our shared resources, we receive multiple alerts from OSP about traffic accidents and serious crashes almost every day. Almost weekly, we hear about traffic fatalities. Many of us at OTE have noticed an increase in distracted and aggressive driving. We hope that spreading awareness about distracted driving will help decrease at least one contributing factor to Oregon’s motor vehicle accidents.
With ever increasing demands on our personal and professional time in today’s busy society, learning to juggle multiple tasks at once is something we all face daily. As a result, a new traffic safety epidemic has emerged on America’s roadways that demand immediate attention: distracted driving.
Of the more sobering statistics, 71 percent of teen and young drivers say they have composed or sent text messages while driving. And, 78 percent of teens and young adults have read text messages while driving.
Ten percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted. Drivers in their 20s make up 27 percent of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes. (NHTSA)
At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. (NOPUS)
Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times. (VTTI)
Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded. (2009, VTTI)
Why texting is the deadliest distraction
In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver. One of the most alarming and widespread forms of distracted driving is cell phone usage. According to a Carnegie Mellon study, driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. And a report from the National Safety Council found that people talking on cell phones or sending text messages cause more than one out of every four traffic accidents.
Text messaging is of heightened concern because it combines three types of distraction – visual, manual and cognitive. In other words, texting involves taking your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off the task of driving.
So the next time you are pressed for time, and it seems like multitasking in the car is the best decision, remember those 3,328 lives that were taken because someone decided they could do two things at once. A text or call is not worth your life, or anyone else’s.
Help solve the problem and save someone you love
Please connect to our partners at Distraction.gov (a website maintained by the NHTSA) for campaign and awareness materials that can be shared on blogs, social media, and with your family and friends.
Our youth are particularly vulnerable and it may be helpful to share the tougher videos with them as a family activity. There are a variety of pledges that can be taken together and signed. We have included the Feldman Foundation EndDD-Family-Safe-General pledge PDF for you to download, but there are many similar documents available at Distraction.gov.
Take the pledge to drive phone-free and turn your cell phone off when you turn your ignition on. And if you’re a passenger, make sure your driver does the same. If you want to do more, please take a look at Distraction.gov’s website– they have plenty of ideas to get you started.