• Amanda Hein Siegrist

Make Distracted Driving Socially Unacceptable

Pretty much everyone has heard of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) or have grown up being warned about the dangers of drunk driving. It is very common to hear about someone being the "DD" (designated driver) for the night! Bars and restaurants have even jumped on board in the last 30 years and often serve free non-alcoholic beverages to the designated driver to encourage the practice.


After taking this week's distracted driving continuing education course, I would challenge that we should change MADD to stand for Mothers Against Distracted Driving. Distracted driving could include driving under the influence and provide awareness to drivers on both dangers. Drunk driving is dangerous- no question about that-- and I don't want to hinder the progress that MADD has made in the past 30 years. However, including distracted driving in the prevention efforts may save additional lives.


According to Zebras statistics,


Drunk Driving

· 10,265 deaths in 2015

· 290,000 injuries in 2015

Distracted Driving

· 3,477 deaths in 2015

· 391,000 injuries in 2015


Even though the number of deaths above is higher for drunk driving than distracted driving, think of one important thing. At the scene of an accident, police officers have a scientific test (a breathalyzer) that can give a factual reading on if a driver was driving under the influence. Currently, there is no law that after an accident, the driver must hand over their cell phone. There is no test to see if the driver was messing with the radio or putting on makeup. Therefore, these statistics must rely on the driver voluntarily admitting that they were distracted at the time of the accident. Or the law enforcement must rely on a third party witness.


I would challenge that the statistic above for distracted driving is greatly understated.


Let's work together to make distracted driving as socially unacceptable as drunk driving!


To emphasis the dangers of distracted driving, studies show that when you are distracted, it takes 30 seconds to regain your focus. In just 30 seconds, a car driving 55mph can travel 300 yards or the length of a football field. A lot can happen or change in that time.


Put down the phone, do your makeup before you leave and avoid as many distractions as possible when you're driving.


For more information on drunk driving and distracted driving, please visit:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving

https://www.madd.org



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