selfies

As if texting and driving wasn’t bad enough, a new survey finds drivers are distracted by modern technology in numerous other ways: surfing the Internet, tweeting or taking and sharing a “selfie.”

AT&T talked with more than 2,000 people aged 16-25 across the U.S. who have a smartphone and drive at least once per day. Seventy percent acknowledged using their phone while behind the wheel. While texting and emailing were the most prevalent activities, four-in-ten were tapping into social media while driving and almost three-in-ten said the surf the net. Here is the breakdown of things people admitted they do as drivers:

  • 61 percent text
  • 33 percent email
  • 28 percent surf the net
  • 27 percent look at Facebook
  • 17 percent snap a selfie
  • 14 percent check Twitter or Instagram

Around one-in-ten said they conduct video chats, have shot a video or viewed a Snapchat behind the wheel.

Keep in mind that the average text takes the driver’s eyes off the road for five seconds – if they were driving 55 miles per hour that would equal driving the length of a football field blindfolded.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every day nine people are killed and more than 1,100 are injured in crashes that involve a distracted driver. Unfortunately, teen drivers are more likely to be distracted and were involved in a disproportionate amount of fatal crashes.

These are more than statistics; they involve real people and impact real families. Sydnee W. was an Ohio teen who died in a crash just shy of her 18th birthday. She was driving distracted and not wearing her seatbelt. Fourteen year old Hunter C. was the victim of a crash where the 17 year old driver was distracted. Connor L. was just 16 when he was hit and killed by a distracted, unlicensed 18 year old driver. None of the families or friends of these teens ever thought their loved one would never come home again.

Many states have now banned the use of a hand-held device behind the wheel, but much more needs to be done. That’s why California Casualty has teamed up with law enforcement agencies and education groups to form Impact Teen Drivers, a non-profit that educates young drivers about the dangers of distracted and careless driving. Much of the effort involves peer-to-peer messages about the problem, including the Create Real Impact contest, awarding prizes to the individuals and schools who produce the most creative video, music, art or essay to prevent distracted driving.

Here are other ways Impact Teen Drivers battles inattentive driving:

  • Providing resources to help student leaders fine-tune traffic safety messages they can spread to others
  • Developing curriculum for elementary and middle school students focusing on seat belt safety, being a non-distracting passenger and speaking up in unsafe driving situations
  • Leading Train the Trainers programs to empower first responders, educators, health professionals and community members so they can deliver high energy, fact based presentations to teens in school and community settings
  • Holding parent-teen workshops to discuss graduated drivers licensing laws and sharing the “What Do You Consider Lethal?” campaign

California Casualty urges everyone to put the phone down while driving and talk to their teens about the danger of inattentive driving. Learn more about our commitment at www.calcas.com/impact-teen-drivers.

Resources for this article:

http://about.att.com/story/smartphone_use_while_driving_grows_beyond_texting.html

http://www.cdc.gov/MotorVehicleSafety/Teen_Drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html

www.impactteendrivers.org

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