Distraction.Gov - A Website About Distracted Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has set up a website called "Distraction.Gov."

The website reveals some interesting statistics:

  • In 2008, there were a total of 34,017 fatal crashes in which 37,261 individuals were killed.
  • In 2008, 5,870 people were killed in crashes involving driver distraction (16% of total fatalities).
  • The proportion of drivers reportedly distracted at the time of the fatal crashes has increased from 8 percent in 2004 to 11 percent in 2008.
  • The under-20 age group had the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes (16%). The age group with the next greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the 20- to-29-year-old age group (12%).
  • Motorcyclists and drivers of light trucks had the greatest percentage of total drivers reported as distracted at the time of the fatal crashes (12%).
  • An estimated 21 percent of 1,630,000 injury crashes were reported to have involved distracted driving.
  • Nationwide, those drivers observed visibly manipulating hand-held electronic devices increased from 0.7 percent to 1.0 percent.
  • Some 1.7 percent of drivers 16 to 24 years old were observed visibly manipulating hand-held electronic devices, up from 1.0 percent the previous year.
  • More drivers in Western States were observed manipulating hand-held electronic devices (2.1%) than in the other regions of the country (from 0.4% in the Northeast to 0.8% in the Midwest).
  • The use of hand-held devices increased the most in the West, from 0.6 percent in 2007 to 2.1 percent in 2008.
  • The observed use rate of hand-held electronic devices was higher among females (1.2%) than among males (0.8%).

 The site also contains a list of states which ban driving while using cell phones or while texting.

 

Fatal Car and Truck Crashes By Young Drivers

 NHTSA has released a report concerning fatal crashes by young drivers.  The report shows that

  1. „„Youths 15 to 20 years old represented 9 percent of the U.S. population in 2007 and 6 percent of the licensed drivers; however, 19 percent of the fatalities in the United States in 2007 were related to young-driver crashes.„„
  2. Approximately two-thirds of the people killed in fatal young-driver crashes are the young drivers themselves or the passengers (of all ages) of the young drivers. „„
  3. Of the passengers killed riding in vehicles with young drivers, 67 percent are in the same 15-to-20-year-old age group as the drivers.
  4. „„Fifty-six percent of the fatal crashes and 57 percent of the fatalities involving young drivers occur on rural road-ways.
  5. In 2007, 6,982 young drivers were involved in 6,669 fatal crashes. A total of 7,650 fatalities occurred in those crashes.
  6. The 2007 National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) states that overall restraint use has increased slightly from the previous year, to 82 percent. However, belt use among  people 16 to 24 was only 77 percent. In 2007, of the 15- to 20-year-old passenger vehicle occupants killed in all fatal crashes, 61 percent (of those whose restraint use was known) were unrestrained. Of the total fatalities in which restraint use was known in 2007, 54 percent of the vehicle occupants killed were unrestrained.
  7. In 2007, 31 percent of young drivers 15 to 20 years old who were killed had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) of .01 grams/deciliter (g/dL) or greater, and 26 percent of young drivers had BACs of .08 g/dL or greater. These figures are relatively similar to the overall driving population in which 37 percent involved BACs of .01 g/dL or greater and 32 per-cent involved BACs of .08 g/dL or greater in 2007.
Those of us who are parents of teenage drivers know that few things terrify us more than the thought of our children behind the wheel.  These statistics remind us that these fears are grounded in fact and that we must continue to educate our young drivers of the need for common-sense and vigilance behind the wheel.

More on Dangers of Texting While Driving

 I have written before about the dangers of texting while driving (here is a post about the danger of posed when truckers text and drive), and the Tennessee Legislature recently outlawed the practice.

Here is a game developed by the New York Times that demonstrates the danger.

Dangers Caused By Truck Drivers Who Text While Driving.

Texting while driving is now illegal in Tennessee, and a study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute reaffirms why the law is necessary.


For truck drivers, the risk of a crash or near-crash event increases by a 23.2 times as compared with non-distracted driving.

Read the entire study here.

UPDATE:  here is a story on the study in The Washington Post:   An excerpt:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration awarded a $300,000 contract to Virginia Tech to do the study. Trucks were fitted with video cameras that captured the drivers' faces in the six seconds leading up to and during a crash or a near miss. The video showed texting to be an extremely high-risk behavior, mainly because it is associated with drivers taking their eyes off the road.

"In 4.6 out of the six seconds, they weren't looking at the road. They were looking at the device," said Rich Hanowski, director of the institute's Center for Truck and Bus Safety. "Anything over two seconds is dangerous."