We have all seen other drivers talking on cell phones, eating or looking at maps while behind the wheel. These are the kinds of actions that lead to serious highway accidents; and they’re the ones that the officials behind National Distracted Driving Awareness Month hope to promote every April. The hope is that by focusing attention on these driver distractions, the number of accidents on the nation’s highways will fall.
Distracted driving is a key concern for motorcyclists. After all, they have far less protection than do the motorists sitting inside cars or trucks. Tim Buche, president of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, added in a press release that automobile and truck drivers have greater access to distractions than do motorcyclists. Motorcyclists, Buche said, generally focus only on the road when they are driving.
The same, unfortunately, can’t be said for other drivers.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has been calling for drivers to focus only on driving for years. When the statistics compiled by the DOT are examined, it’s clear why: Distracted driving causes thousands of motor-vehicle accidents every year.
According to the DOT, 5,474 people died in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2009. That figure accounts for 16 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2009. That percentage represents a big increase from 2005, when just 10 percent of all traffic fatalities could be attributed to motorists who were driving while distracted.
The DOT also reported that 20 percent of all crashes that resulted in injuries could be traced back to distracted drivers.
And what is distracting drivers most frequently? The cell phone. In 2009, 18 percent of all the deaths in accidents involving distracted drivers involved cell phone use, the DOT reported.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation, in a recent press release, reported that other motorists need to pay particularly close attention to motorcycles. Unfortunately, there are usually far more cars and trucks on the road as compared to other motorists, the safety foundation said. Because of this, many drivers tend to ignore or fail to notice smaller motorcycles. This leads to crashes that never should happen.
All motorists have a responsibility to avoid distractions while driving. By doing so, drivers can work together to cut down on the people who die in traffic fatalities each year.