Distracted Driving: Statistics and Tips to Keep Your Eyes on the Road
Each year, distracted drivers cause thousands of car accidents and fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.” In Missouri, legislators have tried to reduce the number of car accidents and fatalities by prohibiting certain individuals from texting and emailing while driving.
Distracted Driving Laws in Missouri
Restrictions for Drivers Who Are 21 Years Old or Younger:
Drivers under the age of 21 are prohibited from reading, writing or sending text messages or emails while driving on the road.
Restrictions for Commercial Drivers:
All commercial drivers are prohibited from using hand-held phones and are prohibited from reading, writing or sending text messages or emails while driving on the road.
The above does not apply to a person operating:
- An authorized emergency vehicle; or
- A moving motor vehicle while using a hand-held electronic wireless communications device to:
- Report illegal activity;
- Summon medical or other emergency help;
- Prevent injury to a person or property; or
- Relay information between a transit or for-hire operator and that operator’s dispatcher, in which the device is permanently affixed to the vehicle.
Distracted Driving Statistics
- Drivers who use their cell phones are three times more likely to get into a car accident.
- In 2017, the number of drunk driving accidents (5,321) and speed-related car accidents (19,535) was less than that of distracted driving accidents (21,058) in Missouri.
- The Missouri Department of Transportation believes that 80% of all accidents in Missouri can be attributed to some sort of distraction.
- 334 out of 759 reported car accidents in 2017 were directly related to consuming food and/or beverages.
Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving:
- Use a hands-free cell phone device, like Bluetooth calling through your car’s speakers or through a wireless headset.
- Refrain from looking at emails, social media, maps or any other visual distractions while your vehicle is operating.
- Don’t eat while driving.
- Secure all passengers, children, and pets. If you have passengers, ask them to tend to children and other distractions for you.
- If something demands your attention, pull over safely to the side of the road and attend to the matter.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident that is someone else’s fault, please reach out to us today – we would love to help.