Distracted driving has become a national epidemic—endangering passengers, adjacent vehicle occupants, motorcyclists and bicyclists, and nearby pedestrians.
While we generally think of distracted driving as texting or talking on the cell phone, it can take many other forms: adjusting the radio station, applying makeup, eating, chatting with other passengers, or taking a sip of your drink can all 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—and often, illegal—habit.
The Frightening Stats
- Between 2012-2019, nearly 26,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver.
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2019 alone. That was a 9.9% increase from 2,858 in 2018.
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. U Drive. U Text. U Pay.
For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.
Kansans are starting to learn about the dangers of distracted driving, but because Kansas has a ZERO tolerance for preventable deaths due to distractions, we still have room for improvement.
Kansas' Top Contributing Circumstances for crashes in 2019:
Inattention/distraction - 19%
Animals - 13%
Failing to yield right of way - 10%
Too fast for conditions - 8%
Following too closely - 7%