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Distracted driving causes crashes, injuries and deaths

When you're traveling, you should know to pay attention to the road. If you're in heavy traffic, you need to slow down. You need to abide by the speed limit and stay focused.

Sadly, around 27% of car crashes are linked to cellphone use. A 2015 report from the National Safety Council estimates that texting-related crashes have increased from 5% to 6%, and people using cellphones to talk while driving has remained steady at 21%.

Getting distracted is dangerous when you're supposed to be driving

There is no question that getting distracted behind the wheel is dangerous. In fact, over 90% of all crashes are a result of human error, and distracted driving accidents are among the most common.

Between 2005 and 2018, the number of drivers using handheld electronic devices jumped up by 1,500%, leaping from .2% in 2005 to 3.2% in 2018. In 2014, there was a record high of 4.3%, which has started to decline. Manipulating handheld devices includes acts such as using MP3 players, text messaging on a smartphone and others.

Some good news is that the total overall number of fatal distracted driving crashes has decreased for the third year in a row, based on 2018 reports. Fatal crashes that involved cellphone use was 13.3% in 2018.

What can you do to reduce the risk of being distracted behind the wheel?

If you are going to be driving, the first step is to set aside anything you're doing that could be a distraction. Whether it's a food you want to eat or your cellphone becoming a distraction, those distractions are dangerous to you. Turn off your phone or set it aside. Eat food while parked or put it away until you reach your destination. Set your radio station before you drive, and make sure the people who are in your vehicle know that you need to remain focused on the road.

By taking simple steps to put aside distractions, you'll be more likely to be able to focus on the road while you're driving. There will always be some distractions, such as outside distractions from other drivers or things happening near the roads, but being able to focus on what's going on ahead of you will give you a better opportunity to respond to those happenings and to make sure you have time to stop, slow down, brake or get out of the way.

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