New study dubs Americans worst at texting and driving
Whether it’s checking mail, shooting a text or just plain old talking, American motorists are infamous for being distracted drivers according to new data. In fact, we’ve got the Europeans beat hands down.
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compared the habits of American drivers with those in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
The results showed that nearly 70 percent of U.S. drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 years old admitted to chatting on their cell while behind the wheel compared to just 21 percent of drivers in the United Kingdom. American drivers were twice as likely to read or send text messages as Spanish drivers.
As smartphones are quickly becoming the standard, the CDC says distracted driving is on the rise. Nine people are killed each day and more than 1,000 are injured in accidents that involve a distracted driver. In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a multi-tasking driver compared to 3,267 in 2010. In the same year, 387,000 people were also injured.
Dr. Charles Nozicka, a pediatric emergency physician at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill., has treated scores of accident victims resulting from distracted driving. Nozicka says it’s heartbreaking to see the devastating effects, especially on teens.
“As an emergency physician and father of four, distracted driving has been a key component of my professional and parenting practice,” Nozicka says. “Life does not supply our teen drivers with a ‘reset button.’ Studies have shown that distracted driving is as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.”
The CDC says there are three main culprits when it comes to distracted driving:
- Taking your eyes off the road
- Taking your hands off the wheel
- Taking your mind off what you’re doing
Texting is the most deadly because it combines all three distractions simultaneously.
“We must adopt a no-tolerance attitude on this issue,” Nozicka says. “We have to pay attention to the task at hand. Put the cell phone down. Stop texting and driving. One accident can change a life forever.”
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