Starting today, federal regulators with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will be rolling out a new anti-distracted driving campaign, hoping to encourage all motorists in the nation to be proactive about ignoring distractions when they are behind the wheel.
According to DOT’s recent announcement, this campaign – U Drive. U Text. U Pay. – will include public services announcements, digital ads and heightened enforcement over the coming weeks. While the goal is deter this preventable cause of crashes, it is also to prevent injuries and save lives.
DOT Releases New Distracted Driving Statistics
While we recently presented some shocking facts about the nature of the distracted driving problem in the U.S. via a compelling infographic, the DOT has updated some of its findings regarding this epidemic, sharing that, in 2014:
- At least 3,179 people in the U.S. were killed in distracted driving crashes.
- At least 431,000 others were injured by distracted motorists.
- Roughly 13 percent of all distracted motorists involved in crashes were teens (i.e., drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 years old). – This finding has led authorities to develop some specific anti-distracted driving messages geared towards younger motorists.
- At any given point during daylight hours, at least 587,000 motorists traveling on a U.S. roadway were using a hand-held cellphone.
Although these statistics may certainly be shocking, what may be more distressing is the fact that these numbers likely underreport the problem, as many motorists involved in crashes are reluctant to admit fault when distraction (and/or other negligence) may be involved.
Commenting on the scope of the distracted driving problem in the U.S. and what authorities are trying to do about it, Federal Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has stated:
Behind every distracted driving death is a story of loss. In the blink of an eye, lives can be transformed forever… Scrolling through song lists on a cell phone, or texting while driving is not just irresponsible, it can have tragic consequences. We’re calling on drivers to put down their devices and help keep the roadways safe for all Americans.
Similarly, Dr. Mark Rosekind, an administrator at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA), has explained that:
Lives are at stake on our highways. NHTSA wants to drive behavior change, stop bad habits, and encourage safe driving… People need to understand the potential price of distracted driving. The cost of a ticket is nothing, compared to the irrevocable cost of taking someone’s life.
What do you think about the latest statistics regarding distracted driving in the U.S.? Will you be supporting National Distracted Driving Awareness Month this year? We look forward to reading your opinions, comments and plans on Facebook & Google+.
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