A new Distracted Driving report from the Governors Highway Safety Association highlights the ever-growing trend toward distracted driving and its direct impact on the number of car crashes in the U.S.
The 100-car study found that in almost 80 percent of the crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes the driver was looking away from the forward roadway just before the incident.
The study points to evidence that “distracted driving fatalities and text messaging both increased substantially from 2005 to 2008. Their multivariate regression analysis estimated that increased texting since 2001 produced over 16,000 additional traffic fatalities.”
The study also found that most drivers say they are engaging in a secondary task like talking on their cell phone or texting one-quarter to one-half of the time they’re behind the wheel.
While texting and cell phone use are commonly known distractions, the study points toward other culprits like radios, CD and MP3 players, DVDs, email, eating and drinking, smoking, grooming and reading, and writing.
The study concludes with the following recommendations to states: enact cell phone and texting bans, enact hand-held cell phone laws, enforce hand-held cell phone and texting laws, and implement distracted driving communication programs.
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