Distracted driving is a big problem. In 2014, as many as 431,000 people were injured and 3,179 killed by distracted drivers. Distracted driving is a label that includes a large number of dangerous behaviors, such as eating, talking to a passenger, and fiddling with the radio. In recent years, however, one very dangerous distracted driving activity has been getting most of the attention: using a cell phone or other device to talk, text, browse the web, or access an app.
Boise-area residents recently got a chance to see first-hand just how distracting these activities can be when AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign came through town with a special 3D virtual reality simulator as part of its ongoing national tour.
According to data on the campaign website, much of it collected by AT&T itself, the scale of the distracted driving problem is enormous. Nearly 4 out of 10 people admit to using a social media app, such as Facebook or Snapchat, while driving. Almost half of car commuters admitted to texting while driving. And 3 out of 4 teen drivers say texting while driving is “common among their friends.”
These numbers echo independent data, such as those from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), whose analysis of 2011 reports estimated that during any given daylight moment, 660,000 US drivers – nearly 1 driver in 10 – is using a device. A study by researchers at the University of North Texas found that between 2005 and 2008 distracted driving-related road fatalities increased by 28%, citing cell phone use and texting at the major contributing factors.
The It Can Wait simulator is having an impact, if only a small one so far. At an earlier stop, user reactions were dramatic, especially after many of them ‘died’ during the simulation because their attention was focused on a distracting device rather than the road. It’s far better for people to see the consequences of bad decisions play out this way than in reality.
In addition to simply increasing awareness of the dangers, a goal of the campaign is to get people to sign a pledge that they won’t text and drive. In the five years that AT&T has been running the program, nearly 8 million people have taken the pledge.
Do you want to see exactly what a bad idea distracted driving is? You can try a personal version of the It Can Wait game using your smartphone and PC. The app synchs your devices, giving you the chance to “drive” on one while the other distracts you with text messages at the same time. Those with a Google Cardboard VR device can even run the simulation in 3D.
Education and awareness are important, but unfortunately we’re still a long way from reaching the point where distracted driving is no longer a threat on our roads and highways. If you’ve been the victim of a car or truck accident, you should have experienced legal assistance to help pursue your case. The attorneys at the offices of Craig Swapp & Associates understand the many variables that are involved in automobile crash claims. Give us a call for a free discussion of your situation. Our number is 800-404-9000. You can also contact us online or activate the LiveChat feature from any part of our website.