How Much Does Distracted Driving Cost?
Everyday the news is filled with stories about distracted driving. If it is not a story involving someone caught by law enforcement doing some outrageous distracted driving activity behind the wheel, it’s a story about the consequences of distracted driving, usually referencing a fatality.
So Why Does Distracted Driving Happen?
Everyone is so busy in today’s society. There are so many responsibilities to fill and not enough time to do them all. Multitasking has become the solution for constraints in time. It is the aspect of multitasking that is one of the main reasons for distracted driving. The vehicle has become a home office, an arena for family discourse, a restaurant, and a personal hygiene venue. It has also become a contained area where you can communicate with family and friends using the latest technology. These activities while driving has given many motorists a false sense of being able to complete the task of driving and do other activities at the same time. Drivers believe that they can multitask, providing the same attention to more than one activity at a time. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and the growing detrimental statistics associated with distracted driving only confirm this.
Having passengers in a vehicle can significantly distract a driver, particularly younger drivers who have less driving experience. In the U.S., states such as California and Virginia have passed legislation limiting the number of people they can have in their vehicles at one time.
Parents and Kids in the Car
Young, inexperienced drivers are not the only motorists predisposed to a collision. Parents who are driving with younger children can be easily distracted by fussy children and backseat sibling squabbles. A crying child can be a driver’s biggest distraction. Young Drivers of Canada encourages parent drivers to provide their young children with things that can do while in the vehicle, minimizing the potential for fussing and crying. Parents should never turn their heads to the back seat while driving. This split-second action can quickly become a collision or fatality. Parent drivers are encouraged to pull over in a safe spot to attend to children.
Other Distractions Drivers Face
Passengers and children are not the only distractions drivers face. Many drivers use their vehicles as a restaurant. Eating anything from a sloppy hamburger to an ice cream cone is a significant distraction.
Listening to loud music is also a driver distraction. Not only does it tend to engage a driver into singing along, but loud music also prevents drivers from hearing the surrounding noise including emergency vehicle sirens. Drivers should never wear headphones while driving.
The real cost of distracted driving can never be determined. Insurance companies can provide statistics on collision and injury claims. Law enforcement can provide the cost of fines and demerit points but the problem, however, is how much is a human life worth?