The use of cell phones is the most common distractions for drivers.
Dialing a hand-held device (typically a cell phone) increases the risk of a crash or near-crash by almost 3 times, and talking or listening on a hand-held device by 1.3 times.
62 percent of high school drivers say they talk on a cell phone while driving and 24 percent say that talking on a cell phone is safe. More than one in five admits to text messaging while behind the wheel.
Sources: NHTSA and VTTI, SADD/Liberty Mutual
Tip #2: Pay Attention.
Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the crash.
A high percentage of the crashes reported by teens involved rear-ending a car that had stopped while the teen driver was looking away from the road.
Reaching for a moving object increased the risk of a crash or near-crash by 9 times, looking at an external object by 3.7 times, and reading by 3 times.
Sources: NHTSA and VTTI
Tip #3: Get Ready at Home - Not in the Car.
Applying makeup increases the risk of a crash or near-crash by almost 3 times.
Other risky behaviors including shaving, fixing your hair, and eating while driving.
Sources: NHTSA and VTTI
Tip #4: Drowsy? Pull Over.
Drowsiness is a significant problem that increases a driver's risk of a crash or near-crash by at least a factor of four. Driving while severely drowsy increases the risk to up to 8.5 times.
Statistics show that 100,000 police-reported crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 deaths occur due to drowsy driving each year in the U.S.
Sixty percent of adult drivers - about 168 million people - say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year.
Sources: NHTSA and VTTI, NSF
Tip #5: Limit Teen Passengers.
Teen passengers in a vehicle can distract a beginning driver and/or lead to greater risk taking.
Fatal crashes involving 16-year-old drivers are much more likely to occur when other teenagers are in the car. The risk of a fatal crash increases in proportion to the number of teenage passengers.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, accounting for 36 percent of all deaths in this age group.
Sources: IIHS, CDC
Tip #6: Know the Facts about Age.
Today there are more than 18.9 million licensed drivers in the U.S. who are 70 or older. By 2020, it is estimated that there will be more than 30 million.
The accompaniments of aging can affect a driver's ability to sense, decide, and act.
As the number of older drivers increases, new mindsets and behaviors are necessary to prevent a corresponding increase in traffic accidents and fatalities.
Sources: NHTSA 2001, AAMVA
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