‘Rampant’ Distracted Driving Spurs Call for Laws, Culture Shift

June 3, 2022
General Motors and the Governors Highway Safety Group outlines recommendations in new report

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has calculated that at least nine people are killed in the US every day because of distracted driving.

“Distraction is rampant on our roads,” Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), said in a statement, along with a report by General Motors Co. released Thursday. “Watch the passing cars the next time you’re waiting at a crosswalk or riding in a vehicle—odds are you’ll see someone not paying full attention to the road.”

Texting while driving and other distractions endanger public safety, and requires a serious culture shift and tougher enforcement, the new report said.

General Motors and GHSA recommend 29 steps for state highway safety offices, including new education programs, state laws, and enforcement tactics.

Regina Carto, General Motor's vice president for global product safety and systems, said in a statement that state highway safety offices should, "put some of these key recommendations into action in their communities as we work to reduce distracted driving and other unsafe behavior on the road”.

The GHSA is offering competitive grants to states to test and carry out recommendations. The governor's group will report their findings in a webinar on June 16th.

According to a survey done by the American Automobile Association, more than half of the drivers surveyed admit to using their phone while on the road alone.

“Distracted driving remains a persistent and, unfortunately, widely acceptable practice,” the GHSA said in their report. “Progress has remained stagnant and the fight against distracted driving has largely been a traffic safety culture failure.”

3,142 people died due to distracted driving, and 400,000 were injured, according to a report done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to the report, these numbers are likely underreported. NHSTA has made it a priority to research the behavior behind distracted driving.

The report mentioned that, while electronic devices are the main source of distraction behind the wheel, other factors, such as daydreaming and eating, also impair performance behind the wheel.


Source: Bloomberg Government

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