Distracted driving still rampant, take the pledge

By KBB.com Editors on April 13, 2016 2:36 PM

Despite high awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, a Kelley Blue Book study reveals that 61 percent of drivers surveyed admit to multi-tasking behind the wheel despite laws in nearly every state prohibiting the use of mobile phones while driving. Those who admit to doing things other than driving while behind the wheel also recognize the consequences including getting a ticket, being involved in a traffic crash or in some cases, death.

The 2016 Kelley Blue Book Distracted Driving Awareness survey was conducted as part of a #DriveSmart Districted Driving Awareness Month campaign. Other survey results show that 47 percent of the respondents admit using their mobile phones while driving on roads or residential streets, 40 percent while cruising along the highway and 86 percent while at a stop light or in heavy traffic. Phone use and interacting with the navigation system are the highest rated activities at 78 and 71 percent respectively, while texting came in third at 67 percent, followed by music apps (47 percent) and social media (31 percent).

Driver distraction involved in a quarter of all crashes

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 25 percent of all crashes involved some form of driver distraction and that drivers under 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. Millennial drivers report the highest rates of texting (74 percent) and checking social media sites (36 percent). But Baby Boomers are the leaders when it comes to talking on phones while driving with 87 percent reporting the activity, followed by Gen X at 83 percent and Millennials at 76 percent.

“We all know that texting while driving is a serious distraction, but it isn’t the only reason drivers are taking their eyes off the road,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “With the increase of in-car technology, there are more distractions vying for a driver's attention. Whether it is in-dash navigation, music apps or voice command calls or text, more and more drivers are multi-tasking behind the wheel as opposed to focusing on the road.”

Youth outreach

As part of the campaign to raise awareness, Kelley Blue Book, along with NHTSA and the Conor Lynch Foundation, is set to have a student assembly at Inglewood High School in Los Angeles on April 21 which will feature professional football player Todd Gurley and other officials to focus on the problem.

Students are encouraged to take the “One Text or Call Could Wreck it All Pledge” at Distraction.gov.

“Texting behind the wheel is dangerous, deadly and completely preventable,” said Chris Murphy, regional administrator for NHTSA. “Working with our safety partners and organizations like Kelley Blue Book, we’re calling on drivers to take the pledge and put their phones down. Our focus is to drive positive behavior and encourage safe driving habits.”

Also helping out in the effort is Chase Elliott, driver of the number 24 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. Elliott created the video above to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving. The 20-year-old offers a unique perspective in the importance of giving driving your full attention to ensure everyone’s safety.

 

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