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Distracted driving is a major cause of automobile accidents. With the increased use of cell phones in recent years, many would even say distracted driving has become epidemic in the United States. Distracted driving is defined as any activity which takes the driver’s focus off driving and onto some other activity inside the car, or vehicle - while that vehicle is in motion. Some people use the terms “texting while driving” or “talking while driving” to refer to distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “crashes linked to distracted driving claimed 5,474 lives and led to 448,000 injuries across the United States in 2009. That amounts to 16 percent of the traffic fatalities in 2009, the same percentage as in 2008.” These numbers may just be the tip of the iceberg as a poll conducted for InsuranceQuotes in October, 2010 found that “93 percent of American drivers engage in distracted driving, such as texting behind the wheel, eating behind the wheel or even kissing behind the wheel.” That is a lot of distracted drivers on our highways and roadways.

What can be done? Most people, of course, do not want to be involved in an accident, but there seems to be a prevailing “it won’t happen to me” attitude among many. There are ways to prevent distracted driving, and some of those ways are discussed in more detail in our section on this website titled “Distracted Driving Prevention.” Perhaps driver’s education is one way to approach it, with special classes on the dangers of texting while driving and talking while driving being included in the classes. Several states in the U.S. have adopted laws prohibiting texting while driving, while others are in the process of doing so. Of course, law enforcement is only useful to a certain degree. Ultimately, educating the public on distracted driving is the best answer. If public resources are invested to forewarn the public that distracted driving is the leading cause of all traffic accidents, hopefully people will begin to take the message to heart and distracted driving statistics will start to decline.


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