Raleigh, North Carolina’s News Observer published an article Sunday that illustrates with a few poignant examples the deadly distracted driving epidemic that threatens the life of nearly every American.
Distracted driving is a term for any activity that steals the driver’s attention away from the road. Eating and playing with the radio, for instance, are dangerous distractions, but the term is most closely associated with talking and texting on cell phones.
As the News Observer points out, cell phones can be so addictive that some people who have caused accidents because they were talking or texting still don’t change their habits.
Tyler Strandberg of Rocky Mount, NC, told the News Observer that she has crashed three cars in as many years while talking on the phone. Two of the accidents occurred in just 2 months time and resulted in totaled cars.
Texting has become “an unconscious obsession almost … with my whole generation,” Strandberg told the News Observer.
Strandberg’s father, Buckley, a 49-year-old insurance executive, told the News Observer that he regularly travels 2 hours from his office in Rocky Mount to Nags Head and accomplishes a lot on his phone during the commute.
“And if I run off the road, there are rumble strips that divert me back onto the road,” he told the News Observer. “That has happened occasionally. They seem to work, those rumble strips.”
“I’m not just going to sit there in the car. I get a lot of work done on that straight, dead stretch of U.S. 64,” Buckley Strandberg told the News Observer.
Every year, distracted driving accidents kill 6,000 people and injure half a million more. These numbers continue to rise as society demands an almost constant connectivity.
Researchers have found that nearly three quarters of drivers between the ages of 18 and 49 admit to regularly talking or texting on their cell phones when they drive, activities that impair the drivers as much as or more than alcohol.
Approximately 11 percent of people are talking or texting on the phone while driving at any given time. Imagine commuting to and from work or picking the kids up from school, knowing that more than 11 percent of the people sharing the road with you were driving drunk.