Distracted driving is one of the most serious safety issues on Vermont’s roadways.  Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention away from the primary task of driving.

Beginning in 2014, Vermont banned the use of all handheld electronic devices while driving.  In Vermont, distracted driving was noted as a contributing factor in 17% of serious crashes statewide, with some of these crashes being fatalities.  Please note the following statistics about distracted driving:

 

 

Distracted driving crashes are under-reported and the National Safety Counsel estimates that cell phone use alone accounted for 27% of all car crashes.

Annually, 3,477 people are killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

  • Driver distractions are responsible for more than 58% of teen crashes, according to AAA.

 

Traffic safety experts classify distractions in three main types:  manual, visual and cognitive.

 

□Manual distractions are those where you move your hands from the wheel.

□Visual distractions are those there you focus your eyes away from the road.

□Cognitive distractions are when your mind wanders away from the task of driving.

 

Texting involves all three types of distractions. 

 

Cell Phone Use

 

  • People are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood/alcohol limit of 0.08%.

 

  • Cell phone users are 5.36 times more likely to get into a crash than undistracted drivers, according to a study from the University of Utah.

 

  • Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about five seconds is long enough to cover a football field while driving 55 miles per hour, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

Drivers are not taking this seriously enough.  According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, over 85% of drivers recognize the dangers from cell phone distractions and find it unacceptable that drivers text or send e-mails while driving.  Nevertheless, 36% of these same people admit to having read or sent a text message or e-mail while driving in the previous month.