Distracted driving - Tips to drive safely

December 6, 2019

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts someone’s attention while they are operating a vehicle. This includes eating or drinking, talking to others in your vehicle, or adjusting your radio, entertainment or navigations systems. Over the past several years, texting or talking on a cell phone has become one of the biggest causes of distracted, and now many states have taken measures to decrease this type of behavior.

Connecticut law prohibits the use of any hand-held mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle (with certain emergency and emergency personnel exceptions). Drivers who are 16 or 17 years of age are prohibited from using a cell phone or mobile device at any time even with a hands-free accessory.

Anytime someone sends or reads a text while they are driving even for five seconds increases the possibilty of causing an accident.  Even a glance of just five seconds at 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

The Facts

  • Between 2012-2017, nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver.                          
  • There were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017. While this reflects a 9% decrease from 2016, there is still much work to be done. In the last six years, 9.5% of all fatal crashes involved a distracted driver.
  • Texting while driving has become an especially problematic trend among younger drivers. In 2017, 8% of people killed in teen ( ages15-19) driving crashes died when the teen drivers were distracted at the time of the crashes.

 

Safe Driving Tips

  • If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it is safe to text.
  • Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
  • Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving. Cell phone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of the vehicle until you arrive at your destination. 

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)