Today’s drivers are prone to distractions – from changing the radio station to texting on the road. Engaging in any type of distraction can take visual, manual and cognitive abilities from the road ahead – and put everyone at risk of a serious accident. Distracted driving has become so regular that it is one of the leading causes for accidents and traffic-related deaths in the United States.
Drivers under the age of 21 are especially vulnerable to distracted driving incidents. Parents of teen drivers can be proactive and reduce the likelihood their teen will engage in distracted driving just by teaching them how to avoid distractions.
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There is no doubt that distracted driving is dangerous. Those that are behind the wheel while talking on the phone, talking to passengers or engaging in behaviors that take their eyes off the road put everyone at risk – including themselves. Unfortunately, most drivers assume that texting or talking on the phone are the only forms of distracted driving. While these are the most common, there are several other dangerous (if not deadly) forms of distracted driving that all drivers should avoid.
The Most Dangerous Distractions
There are many other distractions that take a person’s eyes from the road. All it takes is a few seconds for a vehicle to veer out of their lane or even strike another vehicle or pedestrian.
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Smart watches, including those released by Samsung and Apple, are meant to make your life more convenient. You can receive text messages, answer phone calls, get reminders and even keep track of your health using a single device. These watches are not as bulky and awkward as cellphones, but offer you instant technology no matter where you go. While they are certainly helpful, there is one concern that has yet to be addressed about these devices: distracted driving.
Smart Watches and the Law
Unfortunately the law has not caught up with smart watches or the latest technology. Therefore, even states that make it illegal to text or talk while driving do not have laws applicable to the use of smart watches. Drivers can technically use these devices without any legal consequences for their actions. Even more unfortunately, there are no laws currently in the works to address the use of smart watches, which means it may be several years before lawmakers finally realize just how risky the use of these devices can be.
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So far in 2015 there has been a 14 percent increase in traffic-related fatalities. This is the deadliest traffic year since 2007, which is cause for concern. In 2015 there were more than 18,600 motor-vehicle deaths from January to June – compared to a total of 16,400 deaths in the first six months of 2014. The cost of these accident-related deaths and property damage is estimated at $152 billion – which is up by 24 percent from 2014.
What is Causing the Increase in Traffic Deaths?
Unfortunately the increase in the accident fatalities for 2015 is primarily distracted driving. Because drivers are easily distracted on the roads – whether by a smartphone, tablet, or even by their vehicle’s GPS system – they are no longer watching the road ahead. This distraction has led to more accidents and obviously more deaths than years prior. According to the NSC, American drivers are addicted to their devices and they would rather sacrifice their own safety than put their devices down long enough to drive.
Continue reading “An Increase in Traffic Fatalities Nationwide”