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#JustDrive

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. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Kansas Department of Transportation wants to help spread the word of the dangers of distracted driving. Learn more about the numbers behind this dangerous trend.

The Frightening Stats

  • Between 2012-2017, nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver.

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017. While this reflects a 9 percent decrease from 2016 to 2017, there is still much work to be done. In the last six years, 9.5 percent of all fatal crashes involved a distracted driver.

  • Texting while driving has become an especially problematic trend among younger drivers. In fact, in 2017, 8 percent of people killed in teen (15-19) driving crashes died when the teen drivers were distracted at the times of the crashes.

  • According to NHTSA, young drivers 16- to 24-years-old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007.

  • Female drivers with a cell phone have been more likely to be involved in fatal distracted driving crashes as compared to male drivers every year since 2012.

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.

 

Seatbelts

Every single day Kansans are dying in vehicle crashes. Of the hundreds of crash related deaths that have occurred in Kansas, almost 70% of them were not wearing a seat belt. According to a 2016 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,668 lives. As of 2018, the Kansas seat belt usage rate is 84%.

Quick Kansas Seatbelt Stats:

  • Women are more likely to be belted than men.

  • Trucks, which account for about one in five vehicles observed, produce a substantially lower belt use rate (76%) than other vehicles (90%-91%).

  • Male truck drivers are the lowest single category of belt users (75%).

  • Rural counties tend to produce a lower belt use rate than urban counties.

  • The more “local” the trip, the less likely occupants are to be buckled up.

 

Crash Test Dummies without Seatbelts (Video)

   
 
 

Seatbelts During Pregnancy


Driving Behaviors

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.

Top Contributing Circumstances for crashes:

  • Inattention

  • Animals

  • Failing to Yield Right of Way

  • Too Fast for weather conditions

  • Following too closely

NHTSA Distracted Driving

It's All About Safety (Brochure)

 

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