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Distracted driving can be deadly, especially for teens and young adults

July 29, 2021 / in Trauma / by Baillie McCane

This article was written by Baillie McCane, BSN, RN, Injury Prevention and Outreach Coordinator, Trauma/Surgical Services at UK HealthCare.

Did you know that Kentucky ranks among the top five states for distracted driving?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that distracted driving resulted in 3,142 deaths nationwide in 2019. Additionally, an estimated 400,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes due to distracted driving.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving involves any activity that takes your attention away from driving, such as talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, and fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system. Of all these distractions, texting is the most problematic.

Why is distracted driving so dangerous?

If you were driving 55 mph and took your eyes off the road for just five seconds, it would be the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. Needless to say, driving requires your full attention. Young adults and teens are most likely to drive while distracted.

It is important that drivers eliminate multitasking before taking off. There are many apps that can help avoid cell phone use while driving, and a passenger can aid the driver by reducing distractions and assisting with other tasks.

It is also good to encourage passengers to speak up if they notice the driver becoming distracted. Parents are also a good resource for providing driver education.

The CDC encourages parents to talk to their teen or young adult driver about the rules and responsibilities of driving. Parents should be familiar with the state’s graduated driver licensing system and know the laws on distracted driving. The CDC offers a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement that can help establish rules and expectations.

For more information visit the NHTSA’s website and the CDC’s website.


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