Distracted driving is a major contributor in many crashes. It is described as any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract them from paying attention to the road. While several things can be considered a driving distraction – such as eating or applying makeup – texting while driving is becoming increasingly more popular.
In 2009, 20 percent of injury crashes involved reports of distracted driving. And more than 6,000 deaths are attributed to distracted-driving each year. Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashes, 995 involved reports of a cell phone.
Numerous studies have shown that texting is more distracting than talking on the phone, and as dangerous, if not more so, than driving under the influence. Some safety advocates say we are in a national state of denial about the dangers posed by using a cellphone behind the wheel. According to distracted-driving expert David Strayer, Ph.D., a cellphone might as well be a bottle of beer.
Distracted Driving – State Laws
Tennessee is one of 31 states joining the District of Columbia and Guam in banning text messaging for all drivers. Twelve of these laws were enacted in 2010 alone.
Eight states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving.
You can learn more about distracted driving by visiting Distraction.gov.