Distracted driving is a serious problem to drivers across the country, and Washington motorists know this well. But as distracted driving becomes a much greater issue, researchers have said that the number of deadly crashes associated with the activity has increased dramatically.
In 2015, 35,092 people died in car crashes while in 2014, 32,744 people died under the same circumstances. This puts an end to a 50-year trend of declining traffic deaths. Unfortunately, this increase made 2015 a record-breaking year. The last year where such a great increase in deadly crashes was recorded was in 1966.
While researchers say that many different factors may have helped to cause this increase, distracted driving behaviors appear to have played a major role in the increase in the number of crashes. After all, nearly one-quarter of motor vehicle deaths in recent years have been caused by distracted driving.
When it comes to distractions, drivers are often confused as to what distracted driving really is. To those who aren’t sure, keep in mind that distracted driving involves any activity that is not associated with the actual driving. In that case, distractions include drinking, eating, talking to passengers, handling children or pets, or using an electronic device such as a phone, an iPad, or even a navigation device.
According to the AAA, drivers overestimate their driving skills, believing that distracted driving won’t impact them even as they agree that the practice is harmful. According to the group, a study has suggested that drivers are more likely to participate in risky behavior that they do not tolerate from others. For instance, at least 96 percent of drivers who participated disapprove of drinking and driving and yet 13 percent admitted to driving at least once in the past year while intoxicated. At least 91 percent also said that distracted driving is a much bigger problem than three years ago, and yet, more than two in three drivers say they have used their phones while behind the wheel to talk in the past month. Over 40 percent said they used their phones to text or email also in the past 30 days.
If drivers are serious about bringing the number of deadly crashes down, especially in Washington, they must put an end to distracted driving by striking at the root. Know the risks and act accordingly, even if you’re confident in your driving skills.
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