April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and as a third-party logistics provider who partners with hundreds of carriers, we want the roads to be a safe place for everyone. That’s why we’re shedding light on the impact of distracted driving and how carriers and everyday drivers can protect themselves (and others) by keeping their eyes on the road.
It only takes a second
One second may not seem like a long time, but when you’re moving quickly, a single second of looking away from the upcoming road means you’re missing a lot. If you’re traveling at 65-70 miles per hour, a single second of distraction means you are not watching the road for up to 95-102ft! That’s more than two times the length of a semi-trailer, and it turns out a whole lot can happen within that distance. Just three seconds of distracted driving means driving the length of a football field without paying attention.
Sobering statistics, the annual impact of distracted driving
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives in 2016 alone, and nearly 391,000 people are injured every year because of accidents caused by distracted drivers. These numbers indicate that 10 percent of all fatal crashes and 15 percent of all driving accidents are caused by distracted driving, according to the NHTSA. To further compound the issue, The National Safety Council (NSC) notes that distracted driving is notoriously underreported, which means these numbers are likely even higher.
Know the causes of distracted driving
Traffic safety experts break down driving distractions into three categories:
- Manual: when you physically remove your hand/s from the wheel
- Visual: when you shift your eyes away from the road
- Cognitive: when your mind winders and causes your focus to be removed from the road
Some of the most common distractions while driving include:
- Eating and drinking
- Adjusting the radio
- Retrieving or looking for items
- Using cell phones and other devices
- Personal grooming
- Improperly or unsecured cargo
- Observing billboards or other things not on the road
- Talking to other passengers
- Traveling on an unfamiliar route
How can drivers stay focused?
Staying focused means being prepared for a trip and eliminating any potential distractions before hitting the road. There are many preparations both truck drivers and drivers operating passenger vehicles can take to reduce distractions:
- Route planning: know where you are going and how you will get there before starting a trip
- Putting away devices: keep phones and all other distracting devices out of sight and out of mind
- Take breaks: if you need to eat, drink, sleep, etc. pull off the road and take a break
The NSC also offers many resources including a Safe Driving Kit and other resources on their website.
More resources to help you stay safe
King worked with hundreds of carriers to transport over 500,000 shipments last year. Safe roads and driver safety are issues that are near and dear to our hearts. Want to read more? Check out these links:
Making the roads safer during distracted driving awareness month
Safely sharing the road: 10 tips for safe driving