Technology (mainly cell phones) is a cause of serious distraction to many drivers. In fact, we have become so accepting of distractions that we no longer even realize how often we lose focus. These distractions affect drivers, pedestrians, and bikers alike in that they are extremely dangerous to everyone. This article features some distracted driving statistics from 2021 and 2022 that may surprise you..
Types of Distracted Driving
- Highway hypnosis occurs when your habits take over during a familiar drive, which is often the result of taking the same route to and from work. You go into autopilot, stopping at the same stoplights without requiring any attention from your conscious mind. You may momentarily blank out or forget an entire section of your trip.
- Texting and driving. Reading or typing a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
- Manual distractions. These include eating, grooming, drinking, texting, or doing anything that takes your hands off the wheel or handlebars. These distractions are also dangerous for pedestrians. Improper road crossing, inattentiveness, and failure to obey traffic signs account for 28%, 15%, and 3% of pedestrian fatalities.
- Cognitive distractions. Even something that seems safe, like speech-to-text, can momentarily take your attention away from driving. Other risks like fatigue or driving under the influence of alcohol reduce your ability to react to stimuli.
Can You Acquire Multitasking Skills?
People who multitask claim to be able to focus on multiple actions simultaneously. While multitasking would be beneficial for situations like needing to read and listen to several sources, it is, unfortunately, impossible. Research has shown that instead of interpreting two stimuli simultaneously, our brains actually switch between actions and choose which information to process.
Attempting to multitask can be catastrophic for drivers. Though you might feel like it doesn’t take any real effort, driving requires our brains to process a large amount of visual information. Texting or talking while driving can cause you to miss important details in your visual periphery, and even hands-free devices can distract you and devote less of your attention to the road.
While multitasking is a myth, the danger of distracted driving isn’t.
Distracted Driving Statistics
Statistics play an essential role in helping us understand why accidents occur and how we can prevent them. Over the past few years, how has distracted driving affected Texas drivers?
Distracted Driving Statistics for 2021 in Texas
- In 2021, nearly one in five crashes on Texas roads involved a distracted driver (roughly 18%).
- These accidents resulted in 431 deaths and 2,934 severe injuries.
- Distracted driving is the #2 highest cause of traffic accidents on Texas roadways.
- Texting while driving is illegal everywhere in Texas, and it’s illegal for drivers under 18 years old to use a handheld device in the car.
- Drivers who read, write, or send a text in Texas may face a fine of up to $200.
- Distracted driving resulted in 93,560 total crashes in 2021.
Miscellaneous Distracted Driving Statistics for 2022
- An average of 3.8% of drivers on U.S. roads are using a handheld device at any given time during the day.
- 9% of daily traffic fatalities are a result of distracted driving.
- Most drivers (88%) believe distracted driving is becoming more common and is a serious risk.
- Cell phones are involved in roughly 27% of all car crashes.
- Up to 83.6% of cyclists are distracted by other cyclists, elements of the road, or phone calls while riding.
Are Hands-Free Devices Still a Distraction?
As mentioned above, hands-free devices are still a distraction for drivers. While Bluetooth earpieces, speakerphones, and dashboard systems are slightly less dangerous than handheld devices, they are not risk-free. Research shows that even hands-free devices impair driver performance and increase the chances of missing key visual and audio cues.
Distracted Driving, Biking, & Pedestrian Safety Tips
What can you do to reduce distractions and keep yourself and your family safe?
- Never text while driving. Texting and driving claimed over 3,000 lives in the U.S. in 2020 alone and is one of the most dangerous distractions for drivers, bikers, and pedestrians.
- Reduce manual distractions by brushing your hair and eating and drinking before driving.
- Ask a passenger to grab moving objects or adjust the radio so you can keep your eyes on the road.
- Use voice commands for any necessary navigation. If possible, read directions before starting the trip.
- Never drive while drowsy or under the influence of alcohol.
- Don’t blindly follow the crowd assuming they know where they’re going.
- As a biker or pedestrian, always stay alert and look before crossing the street.
Not all distractions are equally dangerous. Listening to the radio causes a minimal distraction while using an electronic device is riskier. Using a speech-to-text application results in a high level of cognitive distraction.
What to Do if a Distracted Driver Injures You
If you or a loved one has been in an accident involving a distracted driver in the Austin, TX area, please feel free to reach out to Sandoval & James. Our attorneys have over 50+ years of combined experience and have successfully resolved 3,000 accident and injury cases in Austin. Visit our website and contact us today.