Distracted driving has become a major public safety issue in the media and within traffic safety organizations worldwide. Fleet managers in government agencies, motor carriers, schools, and other large fleets have implemented policies or practices governing distracted driving and are using tools like Defeating Distracted Driving to raise awareness of this significant safety problem.
Distracted driving is arguably the single largest contributing factor to traffic crashes today. Some studies indicate approximately 20% of crashes are caused by distracted driving. According to the US Department of Transportation, distracted driving resulted in nearly 6,000 deaths and more than half a million injuries in 2008. Because distracted driving plays such a significant role in overall traffic safety, it has become the number one safety priority for the United States Department of Transportation and other federal transportation agencies.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association 2010 report entitled “Curbing Distracted Driving”, fatalities due to distractions increased over 20% from 2004 to 2008.
While reports vary and research continues, distracted driving clearly is a significant risk and should be considered dangerous behavior. Crashes caused by distracted driving can be as critical and devastating as crashes due to impaired driving or other dangerous driving behavior.
No one is immune. Car drivers, truck and bus drivers, even police officers can become distracted and kill or injure themselves or others. These senseless crashes and deaths can be stopped by changing driver behavior, respecting the importance of the driving task and by adopting a proper safety mindset.