According to the federal Department of Transportation, 2,841 Americans were killed in 2018 due to distracted driving. Those deaths could've been avoided if those individuals were paying close attention to what they were doing. Distracted driving is driving while doing anything that diverts attention away from driving, like using a cellphone, eating, drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading, adjusting the radio, or using a navigation system. Basically, if you're doing anything other than paying attention to driving, you're putting yourself and others in danger.

Here are some of the facts to consider about using a handheld device while driving:

  1. These drivers are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Monash University)
  2. Texting creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute)
  3. Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes off the road an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent of driving 55 mph the length of a football field blindfolded. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute)
  4. Using while driving (even hands-free) delays a driver's reaction as much as a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08. (University of Utah)
  5. Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. (Carnegie Mellon)

The following are some actions you can take:

  1. Talk to family members about the danger of driving distracted to make sure everyone is aware of the danger.
  2. Set a good example for your family by putting away your phone and other devices while driving.
  3. Become familiar with the Hands Free Tennessee law, which makes it illegal for a driver to hold a cellphone or mobile device with any part of their body. 

Additional Information:

Listen to a Wellcast on distracted driving and the Hands Free Tennessee law

NHTSA Distracted Driving

CDC Distracted Driving

MCJCHV Distracted Driving Facts & Stats