Strategies to stop distracted driving

For better or worse, we’ve never been more accessible due to our cell phones. As the processing power of devices continue to increase, we’re able to receive calls, emails, texts, and video chats, all while streaming the entire catalog of our favorite musician.

teens blowing bubbles in a speeding convertible

As convenience grows, however, so do our levels of distraction – especially behind the wheel.  Any activity that takes a driver’s full attention away from the road compromises the safety of everyone.

Can distracted driving really be fatal?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving was a reported factor in 8.1% of fatal car wrecks in 2020, and surely claimed the lives of many more in unidentified cases.

teenager texting and driivng

Who are the most distracted drivers on the road?

Younger drivers with an age range of 16-24 are particularly susceptible to driving distractions.  Why? Teenagers are generally more likely to engage in risky behaviors. Neuroscientists have confirmed that the brain does not fully mature until age 25. Up until this age, the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that helps curb impulsive behavior, isn’t fully developed. This also explains why car rental companies generally do not rent cars to people under the age of 25.

NHTSA studies suggest that younger drivers are more likely than other age groups to talk on handheld phones and manipulate handheld devices while driving. This includes texting. In fact, a 2018 report by the Journal of Adolescent Health revealed that 38% of teenagers across the United States admit to texting or emailing while driving.

loud family fighting in the car, causing distracted drivers

Is texting while driving illegal across the U.S.?

Texting while driving has been banned by the vast majority of the country – 47 states and Washington D.C. But accidents are still all too common, as an estimated 660,000 drivers are using their devices at any given moment.

How can I avoid being a distracted driver?

How do we curb this dangerous behavior?  Here are some tips to avoid the temptation of touching your phone while driving:

  • Out of sight, out of mind: Put your phone in a location that you cannot access easily, such as your glove box, covered console, or the pocket behind your seat.
  • The silencer: The “ping” or vibration caused by text and email notifications may distract you, so mute your phone before getting behind the wheel.
  • There’s an app for that: Go to your App Store and download one of several applications that will stop your phone from receiving text messages and calls while you’re driving. Most will send an automatic response explaining that you are driving and aren’t able to answer right now. Some apps even reward you for using them by giving points that can be redeemed at local restaurants, gas stations, and shops!

injured woman in a distracted driving accident

  • Just pull over: If you simply can’t resist the urge to respond to that text, pull into a rest area or parking lot and handle your business.
  • Co-pilot duties: If you’re driving with a family member or buddy, assign them with the esteemed role of “designated texter” and dictate your messages to them while keeping your eyes where they belong – on the road!

Taking these intentional steps is essential to ensure the safety of everyone on our busy roadways.  If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of someone else’s distracted driving, you needn’t suffer the consequences on your own. Allen & Allen may be able to help. Call today for a free consultation at 804-353-1200.