Distracted driving is not unusual. Some people just lose focus when they get behind the wheel. Here is an interesting fact from The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: 88% of drivers 16 years old and older report that they feel threatened by others who talk on cell phones, and 96.1% feel threatened by drivers who text, and 94.7% feel endangered by other drivers who check social media sites while behind the wheel. Makes sense, right?
The Flip Side of the Distracted Driving Story
The other side of the story is that these same drivers are guilty of these very actions. Approximately 67% admit they talk on the phone while driving (the numbers could be higher), 34.7% of these drivers admit to having read a text message while driving in the last 30 days, and 25.8% admit that they wrote and sent a text message. This is a “disconnect.” Distracted driving is ANY activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel or your attention off the task of driving. Texting is just one of the various types of distracted driving behaviors, but is considered to be the most dangerous, as it involves all three types of distractions.
Statistics in North Dakota: Yikes!
North Dakota has some pretty scary numbers if you look into it. Look over the facts about traffic accidents in our state:
- One traffic crash every 27 minutes.
- One person suffering injuries in a crash every 1.6 hours.
- One person dying in a car accident every 2.5 days.
- One teenage driver crash every 2.6 hours.
- 148 people died in car accidents in 2013.
- 5,374 people were injured in car accidents in 2013.
- Teen drivers accounted for 5.54% of drivers but were involved in 18.2% of the crashes.
Distracted Driving: Injuries and Property Damage
There are various factors that contribute to car accidents. Alcohol and drug use contribute to the problem, but distracted driving is also an issue we all need to be concerned about. The facts released by the North Dakota Department of Transportation reveal what factors led to accidents in the state, and many of these car crashes are the result of distracted driving. The numbers released by the DOT about the contributing factors in car accidents:
- Care required: 3,295 Crashes
- Careless Driving: 143 Crashes
- Failed to Yield: 1,763 Crashes
- Failed to Stop: 551 Crashes
- Following Too Close: 1,291 Crashes
- Improper Turning: 504 Crashes
- Improper Backing: 378 Crashes
Distracted Driving: Death on North Dakota Roadways
The figures on deaths on North Dakota streets and highways include those caused by driver distractions. Take a look at the statistics issued by the North Dakota Department of Transportation for 2013:
- Careless/Reckless Driving: 9 Fatal Crashes
- Fail to Keep in Proper Lane: 15 Fatal Crashes
- Failed to Yield: 15 Fatal Crashes
- Driving Left of Center: 26 Fatal Crashes
- Over-Correction of Steering: 19 Fatal Crashes
- Disregard of Traffic Signs: 3 Fatal Crashes
North Dakota Distracted Driving Laws: Stay on the Straight and Narrow
North Dakota lawmakers are lagging behind other states in passing a hand-held ban. Currently, those under the age of 18 are restricted from cellphone use. Texting and driving is banned for all drivers, including school bus drivers and novice drivers. Make the decision to adhere to state laws. It is one thing to get a ticket. It will cost you money, and your insurance costs will be much higher. That’s the impact upon your wallet, but what about the impact on you as a person if you injure or kill another person because you failed to follow state law? Stay on the straight and narrow, follow the law, and protect yourself and others from accidents that don’t need to happen.