Distracted Driving Causes 13% of U.S. Crashes in 2021, Sparking Crackdowns

April is designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to promote safe driving habits and provide resources to eliminate distractions. Law enforcement agencies are increasing efforts to crack down on distracted driving, issuing citations for hands-free law violations.

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Geeta Pillai
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Distracted Driving Causes 13% of U.S. Crashes in 2021, Sparking Crackdowns

Distracted Driving Causes 13% of U.S. Crashes in 2021, Sparking Crackdowns

Distracted driving continues to plague U.S. roads, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reporting that 13% of motor vehicle crashes in 2021 were caused by inattentive drivers. In an effort to combat this persistent problem, April has been designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a time to promote safe driving, awareness, month habits and provide resources to help drivers eliminate distractions behind the wheel.

Why this matters: The alarming rate of distracted driving-related crashes highlights the need for a collective effort to change driver behavior and prevent avoidable tragedies. The alarming rate of distracted driving-related crashes highlights the need for a collective effort to change driver behavior and prevent avoidable tragedies. The number of fatalities and injuries continues to rise, underscoring the critical nature of this road safety issue, which must be addressed to ensure the well-being of all road users.

The dangers of distracted driving are well-documented. According to AARP, "using your phone while driving makes you four times more likely to get into a car crash." They recommend completely silencing phones and keeping them out of sight to avoid the temptation to check them while driving. Other tips include properly adjusting seats and mirrors for optimal visibility and safety, restraining pets to prevent them from causing distractions, and using apps to monitor and improve driving behaviors.

Law enforcement agencies nationwide are also ramping up efforts to crack down on distracted driving. The police, issues citations being issued for hands-free law violations, underscoring the seriousness of the problem and the commitment to addressing it.

Distracted driving goes beyond just phone use. Eating, drinking, adjusting the radio or GPS system, and interacting with passengers can all divert a driver's attention from the road. Even a momentary distraction can have devastating consequences. A vehicle traveling at 55 miles per hour can cover the length of a football field in just five seconds - ample time for a serious accident to occur if the driver is not fully focused.

The tragic consequences of distracted driving cannot be overstated. In 2020, distracted drivers claimed 3,142 lives in the U.S., according to the NHTSA. Many of these deaths were preventable had drivers been giving their full attention to the task of driving. The families and loved ones of those killed are left to struggle to come to terms with the senseless loss caused by a fleeting moment of inattention.

Initiatives like Distracted Driving Awareness Month and increased enforcement play a vital role in raising awareness and changing driver behavior. However, the ultimate responsibility lies with each individual driver to prioritize safety and eliminate distractions. By making a conscious choice to focus solely on driving, motorists can protect themselves, their passengers, and all others sharing the road. It's a small effort that can make a significant impact in reducing preventable crashes and saving lives.

Key Takeaways

  • 13% of 2021 US crashes were caused by distracted driving.
  • April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month to promote safe habits.
  • Using your phone while driving increases crash risk by 4 times.
  • Distracted driving caused 3,142 US deaths in 2020.
  • Eliminating distractions can reduce preventable crashes and save lives.