Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming 3,477 lives in 2015 alone. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) leads the national effort to save lives by preventing this dangerous behavior. Get the facts, get involved, and help us keep America's roads safe.
Beware of Distractions When You Drive
From 2003 to 2012, more than 1,600 people were killed in crashes caused by distracted drivers. Such distractions include:
- Applying makeup
- Cell phones are one of many distractions both inside and outside the vehicle which can cause crashes.
- Drivers who talk or text on a handheld cell phone while driving face a fine.
- Driving requires your full attention
- Eating and drinking
- New Jersey law bans the use of a handheld cellular phone while driving.
- Talking to other passengers
- Tending to children or pets
- Tuning a radio or CD player
- Talking on a cellular phone
What is Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system-anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.
Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.
In 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed, and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
During daylight hours, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. That creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes.
More statistics on distracted driving and other risky driving behaviors are available here.
Get Involved: Help Stop Distracted Driving
We can all play a part in the fight to save lives by ending distracted driving.
Teens can be the best messengers with their peers, so we encourage them to speak up when they see a friend driving while distracted, to have their friends sign a pledge to never drive distracted, to become involved in their local Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter, and to share messages on social media that remind their friends, family, and neighbors not to make the deadly choice to drive distracted.
Parents first have to lead by example-by never driving distracted-as well as have a talk with their young driver about distraction and all of the responsibilities that come with driving. Have everyone in the family sign the pledge to commit to distraction-free driving. Remind your teen driver that in States with graduated driver licensing (GDL), a violation of distracted-driving laws could mean a delayed or suspended license.
Share the Keys Program
We encourage parents and their teen drivers to take part in the Share the Keys (STK) program. New Jersey Manufacturers adopted STK as part of their enduring commitment to safety and support of the communities they are privileged to serve. Developed by the New Jersey Division of Highway Safety and Kean University, it is a research-based, data-driven program designed to reduce teen driver crash risks through increased parental involvement.
Parental involvement has a significant impact on teen driver safety. Research conducted by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Center for Injury Research and Prevention examined the impact parenting styles had on teen driver safety. The report found that teens whose parents set rules and pay attention to their driving activities in a helpful, supportive way are half as likely to be involved in a crash.
Educators & Employers
Educators and employers can play a part, too. Spread the word at your school or workplace about the dangers of distracted driving. Ask your students to commit to distraction-free driving or set a company policy on distracted driving.
Make Your Voice Heard
If you feel strongly about distracted driving, be a voice in your community by supporting local laws, speaking out at community meetings, and highlighting the dangers of distracted driving on social media and in your local op-ed pages.