A new report from AAA New York State reveals that driver inattention/distraction was listed as a contributing factor for 150 fatal crashes in New York in 2015 and was the most common contributing factor to injury crashes.
AAA analyzed DMV violation data and found that statewide, law enforcement officers issued approximately 217,000 cell phone or texting tickets in 2015, accounting for 6% of all moving violations.
“Far too many drivers either don’t comprehend the risks associated with distracted driving or simply don’t care. Unfortunately, many people are engaging in this dangerous behavior,” said Alec Slatky, Legislative Analyst for AAA New York State and author of the report. In the 2016 AAA Traffic Safety Culture Index, 11% of survey respondents across the country admitted to reading a text or email while driving “regularly” or “fairly often.”
While police officers are doing yeoman’s work and have increased enforcement of distraction-related offenses, they can’t do it alone. To successfully reduce crashes and fatalities associated with distracted driving, traffic safety organizations and municipalities must work together with law enforcement to keep the focus on one of the most dangerous driving behaviors.
On a personal level, individuals are being asked to take care and be responsible drivers so they can avoid distractions:
- Avoid texting and driving
- Avoid taking calls in the car
- If you have to take calls try and park up somewhere safe
- The least preferred option is using a handsfree device, but that is safer than picking up the phone and driving one-handed