Get to know why distracted driving has become such an urgent issue over the last few years. With nearly the entire globe connected via mobile and handheld devices, over 90% of the 1.2 million people killed in crashes globally were a result of driver behavior.
In the U.S. alone, over half of the 2 million crashes that occur involve a cell phone.
What can you do to help?
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 take the #HandsOff Pledge to never drive distracted, to become a #StopWrex Ambassador, 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.
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.
Types of distracted driving
Cognitive or mental distraction is when a driver’s mind isn’t focused on driving. Talking to another passenger or being preoccupied with personal, family, or work-related issues are some examples.
Even drivers listening to their favorite podcast or radio station are at risk; the audio can take drivers’ focus away from their driving and overall surroundings.
Visual distraction occurs when a driver looks at anything other than the road ahead. Drivers who check the kids’ seat belts while driving are visually distracted. Electronic devices for the car, such as GPS devices and portable DVDs/digital entertainment systems, also distract drivers.
Manual distraction is when the driver takes one or both hands off the wheel for any reason. Some common examples include eating and drinking in the car, adjusting the GPS, or trying to get something from a purse, wallet, or briefcase.