Distracted Driving Awareness
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Operating a motor vehicle is the most dangerous and potentially deadly activity we do every day. Ten percent of fatal accidents in the U.S. involve at least one distracted driver, killing approximately 3,500 people each year.1 A vehicle moving at 55 mph is covering 80 feet per second, so anything distracting a driver's hands, eyes or mind - phones, food, friends or control dials - becomes deadly.
Researchers and state insurance regulators, such as the Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), all point to distracted driving as a major cause of more frequent, more costly and, too often, deadly accidents. And higher accident rates result in higher insurance premiums for many. In 2010, three years after the introduction of the iPhone, auto insurance average rates increased nationwide for the first time in six years. They have gone up each year since.
The DOI, in conjunction with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), is encouraging Coloradans to commit to being focused, responsible drivers.
- Keep the Road Code - An interactive pledge with tips on how to avoid distractions. Keeping the pledge will save lives and money.
- Infographic - Crashes and Booms: Distracted Driving, Fatalities, Costs and Smartphones 2005-2015
- Distracted Driving Costs Lives and Money - Information from the NAIC's consumer site Insure U.
- 7 Safe Driving Habits to Adopt - Tips from the NAIC to help you drive safely and arrive alive at your destination
- WreckCheck App for Smartphones - A free app for iPhones and Android smartphones that outlines what to do immediately follwing an accident.
To avoid distractions and stay safe, follow these guidelines.
Before the car moves
- Start sober. Don't get behind the wheel impaired — whether it's due to exhaustion, medicine, alcohol or recreational drugs. Impaired drivers are responsible for approximately 10,000 fatalities a year.
- Plan your route, and set your map or navigation tech. Don't touch it again until after reaching your destination.
- Pick your tunes, podcast, station or playlist and set at a volume that allows you to focus on your driving.
- Engage smartphone safety features. The iPhone "Do not disturb while driving" setting detects a car's motion, silences the ringer and prevents owners from receiving messages. Android and other mobile devices offer similar features through downloads and apps.
- Put away your phone, other devices, food, make-up, or anything else that might tempt you to take your hands off the wheel.
- BUCKLE UP. Everyone. Unbuckled occupants make up nearly half of those killed in accidents.
While on the road
- Use smart driving positions - Both hands on the wheel, positioned at 9 and 3 o'clock, or 10 and 2 o'clock (depending on the size and style of the steering wheel)
- Keep your eyes on the road - Limit the distractions.
- Stick to the 3-second rule - Keep 3 seconds of distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
- Obey speed limits and watch for hazardous road conditions.
- Ask passengers to help you stay focused on everybody's safety.
- Passengers (especially teens), speak up if the driver gets distracted or drives unsafely.
- Parents, your children will learn from your behavior. Be the driver you want them to be.