Distracted Driving

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In today's world there are distractions all around us. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council (NSC) share concerns about the increasing incidence of distracted motorists due to the proliferation of available wireless communications devices.

Multiple studies concluded that using a wireless communications device while driving is the most significant distraction that affects driving performance.

  • The No.1 source of driver inattention is use of a wireless device. (Virginia tech/NHTSA)
  • Distraction from cell phone use while driving (hand held or hands free) extends a driver's response time as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (University of Utah)
  • Drivers that use cell phones are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves and others. (NHTSA, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • 23 times more likely to become involved in a crash.
  • 10 percent of drivers aged 16 to 24 years old are on their phone at any one time.
  • Driving while distracted is a factor in 25 percent of all police reported crashes, 20 percent in injury crashes and 16 percent in fatal crashes.
  • Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent (Carnegie Mellon)

In a 2008 national survey, roughly 8 out of 10 (81 percent) of cell phone owners report that they talk on their phones while driving and one out of every five (18 percent) admit to texting while driving.
Cell phone conversations and conversations with passengers in your vehicle are very different in their level of distraction and effects on the driver. Again scientific studies compared the risk of cell phone conversations to passenger conversations and determined that cell phone conversations pose a much higher crash risk.

Distractions from cell phones and texting are especially significant for teen drivers. Teens are the less experienced drivers and also the group most likely to use a cell phone and particularly, text while driving.
Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for 3- to 34-year-olds. Nationally in 2011, 32,367 people died in motor vehicle crashes. Of those, 3,331 people were killed on U.S. roadways and approximately 387,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving. Of the total distracted driving deaths, 408 specifically were reported as a result of some form of cell phone use while driving. It is believed that this statistic is seriously underreported since the data is gleaned, almost exclusively, from driver response when asked if they were using or texting on a cell phone when the crash occurred.

In Somerset County during 2017, a total of 10,602 reportable crashes occurred. Of those, 4,742 were caused by driver inattention or distracted driving.  

Distractions now join alcohol and speeding as leading factors in fatal and serious injury crashes.

“Put It Down”
Somerset County’s Distracted
Driving Prevention Initiative

Description: PutDownPhone

On The Road…….Off The Phone!!!
It’s that simple !

Everyone has a role. We all have a stake in solving this problem, and we can all be a part of the solution. We
must put our phones down; be a good example to our children, peers, and community; and insist that when riding with others, they do the same.


SET A GOOD EXAMPLE - Kids learn from their parents. Put down your phone while driving and only use it when you’ve safely pulled off the road.

TALK TO YOUR TEEN - Discuss the risks and responsibilities of driving, and the danger of dividing their attention between a cell phone and the road. Show them the statistics related to distracted driving. And urge them to talk to others; friends take care of friends.

ESTABLISH GROUND RULES - Set up family rules about not texting or talking on a handheld
cell phone while behind the wheel.

SIGN A PLEDGE - Have your teen take action by agreeing to a family contract about always wearing seat
Belts, not speeding, not driving after drinking, not using a cell phone behind the wheel. Agree on family enforced penalties for violating the pledge, including paying for tickets or loss of driving privileges. If a teen calls for a ride home because of drinking agree on no discussion until next day.

EDUCATE YOURSELF - Find out more about this tragic problem. View the information and
resources available at www.distraction.gov and www.ConsumerReports.org/distracted. The more
you know, the more you will understand the seriousness of this issue.

SPREAD THE WORD - Get involved in educating and promoting safe driving in your community
and through online social-media websites. Talk to friends, family and co-workers.

Are you up to taking the pledge? Visit:TakeThePledgeSomerset.com


And download the following:

Kulesh, Kubert and Bolis

Distracted Driving


For more information visit: