When can a glance become deadly? When it lasts 27 seconds.
According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, that’s how long it takes for the brain to re-focus on the road after a driver puts the phone down, stops staring into the vanity mirror after applying her makeup or dips into the big bag of french fries sitting on his lap.
The numbers tell a sad story. Distracted driving leads to 13 deaths each day in the U.S. and accounts for 16% of all fatal crashes. On top of that, it causes more than 400,000 injuries and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates it costs $123 billion a year.
The problem is pretty pervasive, with 69% of all drivers in the U.S. saying they talk on the phone while driving and 31% admitting they have sent or read a text.
But no one is more distracted than new drivers. In fact, a AAA study cited “distraction as a factor in 58% of all teen crashes studied, including 89% of road-departure crashes and 76% of rear-end crashes.” So where is the attention of the teen driver if not on the road?
According to the AAA study, some of the distractions of teen drivers include:
- 15% – Interacting with passengers
- 12% – Using a phone
- 10% – Looking at something in the vehicle
- 6% – Grooming or reaching for an object
As a driver or a parent of a young driver, how do you keep yourself, family and others safe? Here are five tips
- Set a good example for your child and other drivers by resisting picking up the phone while driving
- Avoid bad driver activities like eating and grooming
- Download an app that blocks texting while driving
- Adjust vehicle settings like GPS, mirrors and climate control before you start your trip
- Have a heart-to-heart talk with your teen about the dangers of distracted driving
There is no such thing as a harmless glance when you have the lives of others in your hands. Drive safely.