Avoiding a collision requires that a driver notice a potential hazard, react appropriately and do so soon enough to stop the vehicle. At 55 miles per hour, it only takes a few seconds to travel the length of a football field, and even a momentary distraction may lead to a deadly accident.
While cellphone use is one of the most common forms of distracted driving, anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road may pose a risk. In addition to handling a mobile device, drivers may become distracted while eating, tending to children, conversing with passengers or dealing with an unsecured pet.
However, while drivers may feel confident about safely multitasking behind the wheel, the statistics tell a different story.
National distracted driving statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018 alone distracted driving accounted for 2,841 deaths, including 77 bicyclists, 400 pedestrians, 605 passengers and 1,730 drivers.
Florida distracted driving statistics
In Florida, distracted driving was a factor in over 56,000 motor vehicle accidents in 2019, causing 2,928 serious injuries and 271 fatalities. That year, 687 distracted driving collisions occurred in Sarasota County.
Why texting while driving is so risky
Texting behind the wheel is especially risky behavior because it involves three types of distraction: manual, visual and cognitive.
When drivers pick up their phone to read or answer a message, they must take at least one hand off the wheel and their eyes off the road. Additionally, they shift their attention of focus to the conversation at hand rather than the traffic conditions around them.