A Pennsylvania legislator is starting a new initiative to keep drivers safer this week called "STASH and Avoid a CRASH". This iniative is meant to draw awareness and reduce incidences of distracted driving in PA. STASH encourages drivers to put their cell phones in the glove compartments while they're driving, or use a GPS docking system on their dashboard to avoid handheld use while driving. Although texting while driving is illegal in PA, distracted driving is still a huge problem across the state.
Although all age groups are guilty of distracted driving, a new study by AAA notes that young millennials (ages 18-24) are engaging in many risky behaviors while driving. Almost 90% of drivers in this age group reported eating, video chatting, texting, and other activities while driving that can be considered "distracted driving". Although these risky behaviors did appear to decrease with age, all age groups were engaged in some degree of distracted/risky activities while driving. According to one report, distracted driving was responsible for about 11% of wrecks in PA over the last five years. In 2015, that means that about 15,000 wrecks occurred due to distracted driving.
Unfortunately, our state just received another sobering reminder of what can happen if you engage in distracted driving. According to news reports, a teenager was live-streaming herself on Facebook while driving. Right after she started streaming, she was hit by a tractor-trailer that killed both her and her passenger. The video was taken off the victim's Facebook page and will be used in the state police investigation.
Are you alert and awake while you drive? Being drowsy or falling asleep at the wheel is a huge problem for American drivers. Needless to say, this causes significant safety and health risks for you, your passengers, and other drivers on the road. One website, DrowsyDriving.org, is completely devoted to raising awareness of driving while sleepy. It is an off-shoot of the National Sleep Foundation.
Many American teens are working to find a safer alternative to remain connected while they drive. According to an article by the Mankato Free Press (originally posted by the Washington Post), many teens are setting a designated passenger to text for them as they drive. This is a smart move for a generation of Americans who have grown up immersed in a "plugged-in" and hypersocial culture. For more from the original article, please click here.
According to an area news report, the state of Pennsylvania is not as strict as its neighbors in regulating phone use while driving. While PA only bans texting while driving, the neighboring states of New Jersey and New York ban all handheld cell phone use. Considering that teenage drivers account for about 10% of all car accidents in the country, it appears that young drivers may be among the most at-risk groups. For more information on the original article posted by the Governor's Highway Safety Administration, please click here.