APRIL is Distracted Driver Awareness Month, a good time to consider facts about distracted driving. Here are a few collected from recent studies:
- Drivers are four times more likely to crash if using a cell phone, whether or not it is hands-free.
- Drivers talking on cell phones can miss seeing up to 50% of their driving environments, including pedestrians and red lights.
- A National Safety Council review of the science concludes that "hands-free devices offer no safety benefit when driving." New studies show that using voice-to-text is more distracting than typing texts by hand. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that even built-in, voice-activated systems can impair brain focus for up to 15 to 27 seconds.
- The average time taken away from watching the road ahead while texting is "just" five seconds; in that time period, a vehicle traveling at 55 mph will travel the length of a football field.
- Distracted driving caused 3.477 traffic deaths in the U.S. in 2015, a 9% increase from the previous year.
- In Washington State, distracted driving deaths rose from 130 in 2014 to 171 in 2015, and nearly a third of the overall 556 traffic fatalities in 2016.
- Studies have found that using an electronic device impairs reaction time as badly as driving intoxicated.