Distracted driving has been a growing problem for many years, but as 2023 progresses, the issue has become even more prevalent. With the widespread use of smartphones and other technology, drivers are increasingly tempted to take their eyes off the road, resulting in dangerous driving behaviors that put everyone’s lives on the road at risk.
In 2023, smartphones and other technology continues to progress, with features such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence and voice commands becoming seemingly more common. While these features can be useful in certain situations, they can also be incredibly distracting when used while driving.In fact, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) states 3,522 lives were lost in 2021 alone due to distracted driving. In honor of Distracted Driving Awareness month, we will explore everything you need to know about distracted driving in 2023.
Distracted Driving Statistics
While 2022 data has yet to be released, data from prior years show an alarming trend.
- Compared to distracted driving fatalities in 2020 (3,142), 2021 saw a 12.1% increase (3,522).
- 8.2% of all traffic fatalities in 2021 were due to distracted driving.
- 424,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2019.
- Among fatal distracted driving crashes in 2019, a higher percentage of drivers 15-20 were distracted compared to their 21+ counterparts.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the task of driving. This can include activities such as texting, talking on the phone, using a navigation system, eating, grooming, or even daydreaming.
The Different Types of Distracted Driving
The CDC has identified three types of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive.
- Visual distractions take a driver’s eyes off the road. Examples include reading a text message, looking at a passenger, or looking at a billboard.
- Manual distractions involve taking a driver’s hands off the wheel. Examples include adjusting the radio, eating, drinking, or reaching for an object.
- Cognitive distractions take a driver’s mind off the task of driving. Examples include daydreaming, thinking about personal problems, or having a conversation on the phone.
In some cases, there are driver distractions that fit all three criteria. According to accident lawyers at Rosenthal Law, “It is not uncommon to see TikTok videos where individuals are actually driving while also filming the video, looking at the camera, and even performing dance moves all at the same time,” they note, “this essentially takes a person’s eyes off the roadway, their hands off the wheel, and their mind off of the task of driving.”
What You Can Do to Stop Distracted Driving
Preventing distracted driving starts with awareness. Both new and experienced drivers need to recognize the dangers of distracted driving and take steps to minimize and mitigate distractions while behind the wheel. In addition to following state laws, here are some tips for preventing distracted driving:
Put Your Phone Away
Texting, checking email, looking at social media notifications, or making a phone call takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving. To prevent distracted driving, put your phone away while driving or put it on silent mode to help mitigate the temptation.. If you need to make a call or send a text message, pull over to a safe location first.
Plan Your Route Ahead of Time
Another common distraction for drivers is using a navigation system. Try planning your route ahead of time; set everything up before you start driving.
Avoid Eating and Drinking While Driving
Eating, drinking, or snacking while driving can also be a distraction because it can physically limit your motor skills as well as take your attention off the road. Eat and drink before or after your trip or opt to eat in the parking lot.
Keep Passengers Under Control
Passengers can also be a distraction for drivers. Ask your passengers to keep their voices down if you feel your attention waning and avoid engaging in activities that could distract you while driving.
Taking breaks during long drives can help prevent distracted driving. If you start to feel tired or distracted, pull over to a safe location and take a break. Stretch your legs, get some fresh air, and refocus your mind before getting back on the road.
Preventing Distracted Driving is Everyone’s Job
Distracted driving is a serious problem in 2023, but there are steps that can be taken to prevent it. By putting away distractions, using technology to your advantage, and staying aware of the risks, it is possible to reduce the risk of accidents and keep the roads safer for everyone.
It is imperative everyone on the road take responsibility for their actions behind the wheel and do their part to prevent distracted driving.