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Are fewer drivers driving while distracted in 2019?

Warnings against distracted driving are everywhere – on the news, on social media, in national campaigns and more. With such a vocal, constant presence warning against the dangers of distracted driving, are fewer drivers driving while distracted in 2019?

Unfortunately, recent studies point to a national increase in distracted driving. From just 2018 to 2019, a study from Zendrive reports that drivers are 10% more distracted this year. In a list of the most distracted cities in the country, Seattle just makes the list with drivers indicating they spend about 7.13% of their time in the car using their phones.

The dangers of distracted driving

You likely know the risks involved if you pick up your phone while driving. However, many fail to recognize that distracted driving does not just include talking on the phone or texting. Distractions can also include eating, applying makeup, fiddling with the GPS or radio, talking with passengers and more.

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of fatal and serious car accidents. Injuries resulting from crashes can be severe, resulting in traumatic brain injury (TBI), broken bones, paralysis, serious injuries to the head, back or neck and more.

Washington shows signs of improvement

A study released in November 2018 found that hand held cell phone use for drivers across the state was down 40% from just 2017 to 2018. This could be due in part to a 2017 law prohibiting drivers from using a hand-held cell phone to talk on the phone or text, in addition to other specific distractions. A ticket can cost first-time offenders $136 and lead to an increase in insurance premiums.

How to put an end to distracted driving

The Federal Communications Commission has several tips for consumers to help lead the charge to end distracted driving:

  • Eliminate the temptation. Make an example of your own driving. To avoid the temptation, keep your phone in the trunk, glove compartment or elsewhere.
  • Spread the word. New drivers can be particularly vulnerable to distractions. Talk with your teenagers about keeping their attention focused.
  • Be aware of other distractions. Refrain from using your time in the car as a time to multi-task. Eat, apply your makeup and more off the road.

Taking steps to stop distracted driving yourself and inform others on the risks involved can contribute to safer roads across Washington.

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