Researchers are trying to understand why traffic related deaths have surged nearly 15% in the past two years. Speed, driving distance and drinking have all increased in recent years, but none of these factors explains the spike in deaths.
Although NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) data doesn’t show it, the cause is fairly obvious – distracted driving. From 2014 to 2016, smart phone use increased by about 80%. How phones are used has also changed. People are talking less and using apps more – up to 80% more. Texting, posting on social media and interacting with other apps all require significantly more attention – attention that should be focused on driving, not on a phone.
The substantial uptick in fatalities has largely involved bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians – all of which are easier to overlook as a result of distracted driving.
So when you get behind the wheel, put your phone down or, at the very least, use it in hands-free mode. It can help save a life – possibly yours.