Car accidents make feel people particularly vulnerable, because there’s little to nothing you can do to control the driving habits of other people. One of the main causes of car accidents is distracted driving: when a person performs another action or task while operating a motor vehicle. We usually think of cell phone usage, but that’s only one type of distraction. Others include:

  • Eating while driving
  • Changing the radio station
  • Fiddling with a GPS unit
  • Putting on makeup
  • Shaving your face
  • Reading a map, book or newspaper
  • Rubber-necking

Anything you’re doing that takes attention away from driving can be considered a distraction.

Distracted driving statistics

In 2014 alone, there have been more than 14,000 accidents attributed to distracted driving in Tennessee. The government’s own reports even scarier numbers:

  • Of all the fatal crashes involving people younger than 20, 10% were the result of distracted driving
  • 27% of all distracted driving fatalities involve people in their 20’s
  • 20% of teens admit to responding to a text message at least once while they drive
  • You are three times more likely to get into a crash if you’re using a hand-held electronic device while driving
  • Taking your eyes off the road for five seconds at 55mph is the equivalent of running the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed

While you can’t always control what other drivers do, your own distracted driver behavior is one thing you can control. By not texting or eating (or performing any other non-driving related task), you increase your odds of avoiding an accident and an injury. You’re more likely to see a driver slam on the brakes, to cross over into another lane or to miss important signs. Even more important, you can avoid other people who are driving erratically.

Resources to end distracted driving

There are a number of excellent programs out there designed to help people of all ages cut back, and eventually eliminate, the dangers of distracted driving. We recommend you check some of these sources out, and that you contact us with any questions you might have. See what the government is doing about distracted driving Take the pledge to be a safer driver, or participate in a local program

The National Safety Council: Learn more about the laws and what you can do to stop distracted driving

FocusDriven: See what this advocacy group is doing to end cell phone usage in cars