Perhaps it is time for a bit of empirical evidence.
According to a study by
the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International,
Drivers neglect to use their turn signals
approximately 750 billion times per year.
Drivers neglect to use their turn signal 25% of
the time when making a turn.
Drivers neglect to use their turn signal 48% of
the time while changing lanes.
Drivers neglect to turn off their turn signals
48% of the time after changing lanes.
When people don’t use their turn signals, they are
contributing to an environment in which other drivers have less control. A turn
signal isn’t just a signal, it’s a warning. The use of a turn signal allows
other drivers to notice the change in their surroundings and react
appropriately. And if they’re decent people, they’re likely to react in a way
that benefits your own safety, perhaps by giving you adequate space to change
lanes on a busy highway.
Because of this behavior, the study concluded that the
number of yearly car crashes in the U.S. that can be attributed to this issue
is approximately two million, more than double the amount of crashes that are a
result of distracted driving (950,000). This means that nearly 20% of all
crashes in the U.S. occurred because one or more drivers failed to alert other
drivers to an upcoming turn or lane change.
Manipulating a cellphone was a contributing factor in more than
800 crash deaths on U.S. roads during 2017 amid a marked increase in the
percentage of drivers observed interacting with cellphones, new IIHS research
indicates. The estimated number of deaths, however, still represents a fraction
of the overall crash death toll.
Virginia drivers observed in a
2018 IIHS roadside survey were 57 percent more likely to be manipulating a
cellphone than drivers in a 2014 survey. The percentage of drivers observed manipulating
a phone rose from 2.3 percent in 2014 to 3.4 percent in 2018.
At the same time, drivers were
less likely to be seen simply holding a cellphone or talking on a hand-held
phone than in the prior survey. The finding is consistent with research indicating
that drivers are talking on hand-held phones less and fiddling with them more
often than in recent years.
In 2018, 3.7 percent of drivers
in Northern Virginia were observed talking on a hand-held cellphone, compared
with 4.1 percent of drivers in 2014, while 2.8 percent of drivers in 2018 were
seen holding a cellphone, compared with 4.9 percent in the prior survey.
The problem of distracted
driving, especially cellphone use, continues to raise concerns. A 2018 national
survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 64 percent of
respondents consider distracted driving a much bigger problem today than it was
three years ago.
Estimating crash risk
About 37,000 people died in
motor vehicle crashes in 2017, the most recent year of data available. Assuming
the prevalence of phone manipulation nationwide rose as it did in Northern
Virginia to 3.4 percent, and assuming, based on the latest research, that fatal
crash risk is 66 percent higher when manipulating a phone, then more than 800
of the estimated crash deaths in 2017 could be attributed to phone
This estimate is based on work by IIHS and other researchers
describing how the estimated risk and prevalence of phone use can be combined
to estimate the number of crash deaths that could be attributed to phone use in
a given year (see Status Report special issue: phoning while driving, Feb. 27,
2010). The 66 percent increase in fatal crash risk associated with manipulating
a cellphone relative to driving when other secondary behaviors were present is
a finding of a 2018 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.
“The latest data suggest
that drivers are using their phones in riskier ways,” says David Kidd, who
co-authored the study and is a senior research scientist with HLDI. “The
observed shift in phone use is concerning because studies consistently link
manipulating a cellphone while driving to increased crash risk.”
Cellphone use affects how
drivers scan and process information from the roadway. Drivers generally take
their eyes off the road to dial, send texts and browse the web on a hand-held
phone — all activities that fall under the rubric of manipulating the phone.
Drivers engaged in cellphone conversations tend to concentrate their gaze
toward the center of the roadway, but their attention still may be diverted
from driving and make it difficult for them to process what they are looking
Tracking trends in distraction
Procedures for the 2018 update followed those used in 2014 (see “Distracting
behaviors are common at red lights, less so at roundabouts,”
March 31, 2015). IIHS stationed observers at 12 locations across four Northern
Virginia communities, on straight stretches of roads, at signalized
intersections and at roundabouts in March 2018. Observers noted nearly 12,000
drivers in the 2018 survey and more than 14,000 drivers in 2014 during the
morning, afternoon or early evening on weekdays. Researchers noted if drivers
were engaging in one or more of 12 visible secondary behaviors while moving or
stopped at red lights.
About 23 percent of drivers
were engaged in one or more distracting activities:
Talking on hand-held cellphone
cellphone (excludes looking at phone in mount)
Simply holding hand-held
cellphone (i.e. not obviously manipulating or talking)
Wearing Bluetooth earpiece or
headset with mic
Wearing headphones or ear buds
Manipulating in-vehicle system
(touching radio, climate control, touchscreen display or other controls;
excludes operating stalks or buttons on steering wheel)
Manipulating or holding mobile
electronic device other than cellphone
Talking or singing
Eating or drinking
Other (reaching for object,
reading print material, adjusting sun visor, putting on glasses, holding
“When people talk about
distracted driving, most often cellphones are the focus, but drivers are
distracted by other secondary behaviors more often than cellphones,” Kidd
points out. “Things as simple as drinking coffee or talking to your kids
can take your attention away from the road.”
About 14 percent of drivers
were engaged in nonphone-related secondary behaviors in 2014 and 2018, which
exceeded the proportion of drivers seen using phones in both years. Relative to
2014, drivers were more likely to be observed manipulating an in-vehicle
system, grooming themselves, or manipulating or holding an electronic device
other than a phone after researchers adjusted for community, perceived driver
gender and age, time of day and roadway situation.
Drivers in 2018 were less
likely to be talking or singing while driving alone, smoking, or wearing
headphones or earbuds. The prevalence of eating or drinking, talking or singing
with a passenger present, wearing a Bluetooth device, or engaging in some other
visible secondary behavior wasn’t significantly different between 2014 and
“We didn’t find evidence
of an increase in distracted driving overall between the 2014 and 2018 roadside
surveys,” Kidd says. “For cellphone-related distraction in general,
we expect a continued shift in the way people interact with the devices as the
The percentage of crash deaths
related to distraction in recent years has hovered at about 8–10 percent of all
crash deaths, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
show. During the past three years, distraction-affected crash deaths have
trended downward. The number of fatalities in distraction-affected crashes fell
9.3 percent from 3,490 in 2016 to 3,166 in 2017, representing 8.5 percent of
total fatalities for the year. In 2015, 3,526 people were killed in
Fatality data likely
underestimate the number of deaths caused by distracted drivers. Despite
efforts to determine cellphone use by drivers in crashes, such data continue to
be difficult to collect as they largely depend on people truthfully telling law
enforcement officers what they were doing or voluntarily handing over their
phones for inspection.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida could outlaw drivers from putting on makeup, holding a cellphone, reading or performing other distracting activities under a bill unanimously approved by a Senate committee.
Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee approved the measure after
heart-wrenching testimony from parents whose children that have been killed in
accidents caused by districted drivers.
Wilton Simpson said distracted driving has become an epidemic in Florida, and
not just involving cars hitting other cars.
hiking, jogging – all of those things – we’ve had record numbers of deaths in
this state by distracted driving,” Simpson said.
Right now, it is
illegal to text and drive in Florida, but drivers can only be ticketed if they
are first pulled over for another reason. Simpson’s bill would make distracted
driving a primary offense, meaning law enforcement wouldn’t need another reason
to ticket a driver. If enacted, Florida would ease into the law by creating a
three-month period where law enforcement would only give warnings. After Dec.
1, police would be able to issue tickets.
cellphone use would be allowed, and drivers would be able to check their phones
as long as their cars aren’t moving, such as at a stop light or while idling in
a parking lot.
officers would also have to record the race and ethnicity of ticketed drivers
and an annual report would have to be given to the governor, House speaker and
Senate president. Democratic Sen. Randolph Bracy asked for that provision to be
included due to concerns that a distracted driving ban could be used for racial
Several parents who
lost children in accidents urged the committee to approve the bill. Debbie
Wanninkhof said her 25-year-old son, Patrick, died in an accident caused by a
driver using a cellphone.
“We need to
wake up to the danger of wireless communication device addicts,” she said.
“Cellphone use … is an addiction for many. You hear the stimulus of a
ping and you immediately grab the phone and you respond instantly. It happens
over and over again, and just like a drug addiction, it can be deadly.”
The Senate bill has been unanimously approved in its first two of four committee stops. A similar House bill hasn’t been heard in committee yet, but House sponsor Rep. Jackie Toledo said House Speaker Jose Oliva has promised it will get a hearing.
More children have been hit by cars while waiting for a school bus, this time in Florida and Pennsylvania. That makes six accidents at school bus stops in three days across the country.
According to station WTSP, five children and two adults were all hit by a car while waiting at a school bus stop in Tampa. Three of the children were 6 years old, one was 9 and the other was 12. The adults were both in their early 30s. All the people hit by the car were hospitalized AND two children remained in the hospital, according to WTSP. Investigators say the 47-year-old Tampa man driving the car that hit the group did not seem impaired at the time of the incident.
Also, a 7-year-old child was found on the ground with fatal injuries by a school bus driver at a bus stop in Pennsylvania. Tyrone Area School District Superintendent Cathy Harlow said on Facebook that the apparent hit-and-run happened before school. She also said, “the bus driver on route arrived at the stop discovering the situation, contacted 911 and remained at the scene until first-responders arrived.” State police
are still looking for the driver, according to NBC 10.
An 11-year-old and a 13-year-old were hit in Louisville, Kentucky around 6:30 a.m. The two young brothers were hit by an unknown driver while crossing a busy intersection. Kentucky police are still looking for the driver.
Two other incidents happened in Florida and Mississippi. Twin boys and their big sister were hit by a car while boarding a school bus in Indiana. A fourth child was struck as well. Xzavier and
Mason Ingle, both 6, and Alivia Stahl, 9, were pronounced dead at the scene of
the crash in Fulton County. The fourth child, 11-year-old Maverik Lowe, was
airlifted to Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne with life-threatening injuries.
Sgt. Tony Slocum of the Indiana State Police said that the Tippecanoe Valley School corporation students were hit by a pick-up truck even though the bus was stopped with its lights flashing and its “STOP” arm extended. The pickup truck’s driver, 24-year-old Alyssa Shepherd, was arrested at her job just after 4 p.m., Indiana State Police said in a news release. Shepherd remained at the scene after the crash and cooperated with investigators. Her blood test did not indicate that alcohol or drugs played a factor, according to Gannett. Shepherd was charged with multiple felony counts of reckless homicide and one misdemeanor count of passing a school bus when an arm signal device is extended, causing bodily injury, court records show.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were about 1,300 people killed in school transportation-related accidents between 2006 and 2015. About 100 of those victims were classified as school-age pedestrians. 64 percent
of the children killed were stuck by a bus or a vehicle serving as a bus, while
36 percent were hit by other vehicles, the administration said.
these were your children or family members? It’s up to each one of us to ensure
our children make it to school and back safely. Remove distractions from your driving
and pay attention to what’s happening all around you. These kids are victims because
drivers are putting on makeup, holding a cellphone, reading or performing
other distracting activities. None of these reasons is worth a life.