Dangers of Distracted Driving and Prevention Resources

In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver. In fact, 11% 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. Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving.  All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:
  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.

The US Department of Transportation (USDOT), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alarmed by these statistics, are urgently educating the public about these dangers in an effort to curb distracted driving.  Together they created the website Distraction.gov, which provides emotionally wrenching personal stories and facts for those interested in educating their own family, classrooms, or community.  If you are interested in these resources, we encourage you to visit Distraction.gov.  Below we've included one of the videos about Joe Teater from Spring Lake, Michigan, who was killed by a distracted driver in 2004.  To see more personal stories, visit the Faces tab at Disctraction.gov.