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Smartphones and Distracted Drivers

It’s frustrating to public safety officials that there is so little publicly available data on the role that smartphones play in distracting drivers in auto accidents. According to an article in The New York Times, there is no database of crashes attributable to cell-phone-related distraction. This is even though plenty of states have laws on the books against cell-phone-distracted driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2021 only one percent of fatal car accidents were attributed to cell-phone distraction, and only eight percent of all non-fatal accidents involved cell-phone use. But those figures only account for the times when cell phones are explicitly mentioned in police reports. This is usually because a driver admitted being distracted or a witness saw them on their phone.

Regulatory agencies know this is a problem, but other than vague declarations to look into it, they don’t seem to be able to make much headway. Meanwhile according to AAA, road fatalities have reached a 16-year high. It seems the ultimate responsibility to reverse this trend falls on drivers themselves, who often admit driving distracted in anonymous surveys. A recent study found that 50 percent of drivers admitted to having engaged in device-related distraction in the last 30 days.

According to the CDC “driving at 55 miles per hour while sending or reading a text is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

It is important to focus on what matters in life. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by secondary things. If we do, life becomes more difficult and even dangerous.

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