Dont be a weapon of mass distraction

April is distracted driving month. And that definitely caught our attention.

We’ve been sending the message for months now that driving is an activity that too many of us take for granted.

Every time we get behind the wheel, we need to make driving our primary focus. Not our cellphones. Our kids fighting in the back seat. The argument we just had with a co-worker. Or the burger on our laps.

In our fast-paced, drive-thru world, we know that’s tough. There just aren’t enough hours in the day, particularly as our commute times go up.

So is Findlay really saying that our vehicles should be multi-tasking-free zones?

Yes. Actually, we are.

And the stats back us up.

According to data published by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2010, drivers were distracted in 16 per cent of fatalities and 20 per cent of injuries involving a motor vehicle. Drivers of light trucks and motorcyclists were the most likely to be distracted, at 12 per cent each. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of drivers aged 30 to 39 who died in a car accident were distracted by cell phones.

But you don’t have to be sending a text or changing the radio station to count as a distracted driver.

Erie Insurance analyzed data from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Reporting Analysis System (a police reporting database of all fatal motor vehicle crashes). A whopping 62 per cent of the drivers involved in fatal crashes where distracted driving was listed as a cause were described by the police officer who filled out the paperwork as “generally distracted” or “lost in thought.” That’s a lot of daydreaming behind the wheel…with killer consequences.

The Erie Insurance analysis showed the next highest category of distraction was use of a cellphone—12 per cent of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes were texting, listening, talking or dialing. Seven per cent were distracted by something outside the car (enjoying the scenery or rubbernecking). Five per cent were distracted by other occupants of the car. Two per cent each were eating or drinking, adjusting climate controls or reaching for something in the car.

If you’re a weapon of mass distraction, turn over a new leaf this April.

Be aware. Be safe.

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