Every day in the United States, according to the CDC, 8 people are killed and over a thousand injured as a result of distracted driving.
Distracted driving is defined as driving while doing another activity that takes attention away from driving. The results of distracted driving culminate in an annual death rate of over 3,000 (2013).
Distracted driving is typically categorized in three different ways:
- Visual distraction—when a driver physically takes her eyes off the road.
- Manual distraction—when a driver takes his hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive distraction—when a driver is thinking about something other than driving.
In an effort to combat the disastrous outcomes of distracted driving, many states have implemented laws to fight the problem, such as banning cellphone use and graduated license systems for younger drivers.
While the effectiveness of these initiatives is still being studied, the number of deaths from distracted driving appears to be declining, according the to most recent CDC study–deaths from accidents caused by distracted driving dropped from 3,328 to 3,154 between 2012 and 2013.
Injuries, however, have risen as a result of distracted driving. Researchers observed a 10% increase between 2011 and 2013.
With the advent of bluetooth and more hands-free options for cellphones, researchers hope that this number goes down exponentially. But your best chance of staying safe is staying alert and staying aware of your surroundings.