Driving down the highway you can see many things; drivers on their cell phones, talking and texting and even people reading (yes, full on reading a book or magazine), scratching lottery tickets, doing their hair (even with a plug-in curling iron), and even driving with their knees so they could light a cigarette. It scares most of us to think that our live, our children’s lives, and the lives of so many others are at the mercy of these distracted drivers.
Texting and driving bans have been pushed to the forefront of the media lately as it seems that more and more people are dying in accidents that are caused due to this distraction. Texting has been found to impair a driver’s ability more than driving while intoxicated.
However, now studies are showing that there is an even more dangerous distraction out there…your own mind. The Erie Insurance Group did a study and found that over the last two years 1 in 10 of 65,000 fatal accidents occurred as a result of someone daydreaming behind the wheel. While lost in their thoughts, drivers are more likely to miss a curve, run a stop sign or red light, or fail to notice traffic.
A stunning 62% of these 65,000 accidents were caused because people were lost in their thoughts behind the wheel, while 12% were caused by cell phone use. A senior VP at Erie Insurance, Doug Smith, says that a distraction behind the wheel is ‘any activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, your mind off the primary task of driving safely’. He hopes that the results of this study will enlighten people and make them think twice about their actions while they are driving in a car.
These numbers were taken from police reports, so they could be different than what they appear as if someone was embarrassed or lied to the police about the cause of the accident. The U.S. Congress has made the month of April National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.