Road Safety: Distracted Driving
For anyone who thinks they can talk or text and drive, take a few moments to read the following statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- In 2014, 3,179 people were killed and approximately 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. (NHTSA)
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to be involved in a serious crash. (Insurance Institute of Highway Safety)
- The percentage of drivers text-messaging or otherwise engaged with handheld devices increased from 1.7% in 2013 to 2.2% in 2014. Since 2007, young drivers (ages 16 to 24) have been observed manipulating electronic devices at higher rates than older drivers. (NHTSA)
- Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crashes. (NHTSA)
According to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds, the equivalent of driving blind at 55 mph for the length of an entire football field.
I challenge you to take the pledge to keep Mississippi County and its citizens safe. No one is immune to the dangers of distracted driving. The next time you are pressed for time, and it seems like multitasking in the car is the best decision, remember those 3,179 lives that were taken because someone decided they could do two things at once. A text or call is not worth your life, or anyone else’s.
Sheriff Aubry D. Cook