For years, major media and education campaigns around deaths on America’s roadways focused on drunk driving. Over time, thankfully, the message began to sink in. The social stigma and the punishments that go with drunk driving today have resulted in fewer crashes and deaths. Now, data is showing that a new behavior has become the greatest threat on the road.
According to Sam Madden, co-founder and chief scientist at Cambridge Mobile Telematics, our obsession with smartphones has led to an equally serious epidemic – distracted driving. While the number of drunk driving fatalities has fallen by a third in the last three decades, the number of distracted driving fatalities continues to increase. And keep in mind, reporting for this data is limited. Many states don’t have a place to notate “distraction” as part of an accident report from police. The report forms in 11 states have “mobile-phone distraction”, and 27 states have only a general notation of “distraction” (which could be the radio dial, a cigarette, a coffee cup, applying make-up, another passenger, etc.)
Distracted driving is a serious concern for all of us and we need commit to being distraction-free each time we get behind the wheel. We also need to encourage our family, friends, and employees to do the same.To test your knowledge, try taking the Distracted Driving Quiz from Travelers Insurance.