That’s how many people died on the roads in 2021 because of distracted driving.
That number is on the rise, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. As an insurance agency that deals with a large number of claims related to traffic accidents, we know that there are very real consequences anytime someone is behind the wheel of a car and not giving their full attention.
It’s why April has been designated Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving refers to any activity that takes your attention away from driving. This includes everything from texting and talking on the phone to eating, drinking, grooming and adjusting the radio.
Even seemingly harmless distractions like looking at billboards or chatting with passengers can lead to dangerous situations on the road. When you’re driving, it’s important to stay focused and alert at all times.
What Do the Numbers Say?
Distracted driving is a growing problem that affects drivers of all ages and experience levels. According to a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 96% of drivers believe that distracted driving is a serious threat to their safety, yet 49% admit to texting while driving. In 2019, distracted driving was a confirmed factor in 8% of all fatal crashes, though that number could be much higher.
Tips to Prevent Distracted Driving
There are many things you can do to avoid distractions while driving. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Put your phone away: One of the most common distractions while driving is using your phone. To avoid this, put your phone on silent and out of reach while driving.
- Plan ahead: Before you start driving, make sure you have everything you need within reach, such as snacks, drinks, and entertainment. This can help you avoid distractions while on the road.
- Use technology: Many smartphones have features that can help reduce distractions, such as “Do Not Disturb While Driving.” Consider using these features to stay focused while driving.
Insurance Implications of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving can also have a major impact on your insurance rates and coverage. If you’re involved in an accident while distracted, your insurance provider may view you as a higher-risk driver, which can lead to higher premiums.
In addition, if you’re at fault for an accident caused by distracted driving, you may be held liable for damages and injuries.
Maryland law also prohibits using hand-held phones while operating a motor vehicle. Receiving a violation will have a major impact on your insurance premium.
If you drive a company-owned vehicle, your employer’s rates will also increase — even if you were not in that vehicle at the time of the violation.
Distracted driving is a serious problem that affects everyone on the road. By staying focused and alert while driving, you can help prevent accidents and keep yourself and others safe.
Remember, safety should always be your top priority when you’re behind the wheel.