Distracted driving involves engaging in activities or businesses that keep your eyes off the road. Some of these activities include drinking coffee and using your phone.
Texting and answering calls while driving tops the list of activities that cause accidents since you tend to lose your mental and physical focus once you are engaged on your phone.
Even though distracted driving accidents are preventable, many lives are lost every year.
Driving requires your full attention regardless of your experience behind the wheel. Any distraction can lead to crashing.
Keep reading as we learn about distracted driving.
Types of Distracted Driving
1. Visual Distractions
It happens when you move your eyes from the road and try to look at your passengers or check on the children.
2. Cognitive Distractions
When your mind is off the road, you are no longer focused on the wheel and overwhelmed with emotions that distract you.
3. Auditory Distractions
Happens when you encounter sounds that affect your attention on the road, like a deep conversation with passengers and listening to music.
4. Manual Distractions
It happens when you move your hands from the steering wheel and engage in activities like eating or drinking.
Statistics on Distracted Driving Among Teens and Young Adults
According to research conducted in 2018, 25% of young adults are involved in fatalities related to distracted driving, most of them aged between 20 and 29.
9% of teens involved in accidents died in distracted driving crashes, whereas eight percent are aged between 15 and 19.
Another research conducted in 2019 by Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System on risky behaviors among high school students showed that:
39% of students were found texting and driving or sending emails, and it was common among older students who felt more confident than the younger ones.
Those texting while driving were likely to report other road risky behaviors such as avoiding seat belts, driving under the influence, or riding with a driver who has taken alcohol.
Another survey conducted in January 2021 showed that Americans had a different view on distracted driving where:
- Less than half of the survey participants agreed that texting and driving are risky and limit your concentration and focus on the road.
- 36.4% admitted that driving while using your phone reduces your ability to drive, and 36% admitted involving themselves in using phones while driving.
- Among participants aged 25 to 34, only 4.1% felt the urge to respond to calls and text messages while driving.
- The age group between 18 and 24 had 17.6% of people who felt the pressure of answering calls and messages; remember, this is the age that is mainly involved in distracted driving accidents.
The Law and Use of Phones When Driving
In New York state, it’s illegal to use a handheld phone while driving. Other illegal activities while using electronic devices when driving include:
- Playing games
- Browsing, reading, sending, composing, transmitting., saving, or accessing any electronic data such as emails, texts, or web pages.
- Taking, viewing, or sharing images.
Once you are caught using a portable device when driving, you are at the risk of getting a traffic ticket, a fine, or even earn a surcharge.
However, there is no problem if you call 911 police personnel to report an emergency, medical issue, or fire accident while driving.
Additionally, when you are charged with using a cell phone, either texting or receiving calls, you will get more points in your DMV record, and 11 points within 18 months will lead to suspension of your driving license.
Penalties for Junior Drivers and Learners
Learners and junior drivers are not an exception to the driving rules on using cell phones while driving; this will earn you a suspension of your license or permit for 120 days.
When you commit the same mistake within six months after the first one, you will get a revocation of your driving license for at least one year.
Preventing Distracted Driving
As a driver, there are some distractions you can avoid while others are beyond you, and all that matters is your response. Here are some tips for smooth driving:
1. Lower the Volume
Keeping your speaker volume low will help reduce cognitive distraction and focus more on the road.
Low volumes will help you listen to other happenings outside the vehicles, such as other cars honking and an ambulance siren.
2. Download Apps
You can find various apps to help avoid distractions by monitoring your speed and keeping any alerts on your phone in silent mode.
These apps will give you access to your favorite music and the navigations blocking calls, and some will send auto-replies.
3. Put Your Phone Away
Sometimes you can’t resist responding to a text or call, especially when waiting for an important call or information.
The best solution is to keep your phone out of reach until you reach your destination to avoid the temptation.
4. Delegate Responsibilities
If you are driving alongside your friends, you can trust them with the responsibility of checking the navigation or responding to calls and messages.
5. Talk with the Teens
As a parent, you need to talk to teens and young adults about the dangers of distracted driving.
Remind them that even the most experienced drivers need to pay full attention and that they should wait till they reach their destination to send text messages and receive calls.
6. Familiarize with State Laws
Read and understand state laws on distracted driving and let your teens know about the penalties; this way, they will try and keep safe.
Additionally, you can have your family’s set of rules, and for safety purposes, let them be harsh and stricter than state laws.
7. Be a Good Example
When driving, set your eyes on the road and avoid any distractions. If you have your teens in the car, they might emulate your good road habits.
When it comes to distracted driving, phones have become the primary cause of increased fatalities. Young adults and teens are the most affected by using phones even when they know what it can cause. If you have found yourself in such a situation or you are tempted to drive while engaging in other activities, it’s time you check the statistics and the laws about it.
Enrolling in our driving school can help raise responsible teen drivers with good driving habits to help reduce fatalities brought by distracted driving.