Anything that takes a driver's eyes off the road—even for a second or two—is dangerous. Distracted driving claimed almost 3,000 lives in 2018 alone.
We've all heard the math: at 55 miles per hour, five seconds of looking away (the average time it takes your eyes to look at a text) is like driving the length of a football field blindfolded. As bad as that sounds, cell phone use actually occurs most frequently at 65mph. The risk of a collision increases 23-fold while texting, and seven times while simply reaching for a device, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
The distraction attraction
Visual distractions can be compelling. We all want to see who sent that text, change the radio station, or take another look at something interesting outside the car. Most of us have had that moment of panic when our attention returns to driving—only to discover that an unexpected situation has developed and there's little time left to react. Just like what happens here:
Distracted driving is one major cause of preventable collisions. By reducing or eliminating visual and other distractions, we can make the roads safer and save lives. The first step to resolving this behavior is to bring awareness to drivers that need it. Most people already know that texting and driving is dangerous but might not think about less obvious distractions like adjusting the air conditioning or looking at turn-by-turn directions.
Lack of awareness
One challenge is that people often engage in risky behavior without being conscious of it. Most of us would be shocked to learn how much we look at our cell phones—96 times per day on average, according to a recent study. We are not always cognizant of how dangerous it can be each time we pick up a cell phone or glance at another distraction "just for a second." Most of the time, nothing goes wrong—and these behaviors are forgotten or never noticed. But risk adds up, and it can be just a matter of time before a distraction takes hold at the wrong moment, leading to catastrophe.
The good news is that it is possible to bring awareness to the problem by detecting and documenting driver behavior on the road. Helping drivers become aware of what they are doing is the foundation for constructive conversations that drive positive change. Many companies are turning to video to help educate drivers--but to effectively reduce risk you need more than a simple dash cam. Lytx helps fleets deploy cameras equipped with machine vision and artificial intelligence that can detect distracted driving and other risky behaviors, capturing video clips automatically. Sharing the video with drivers can help correct their perceptions of their own driving behavior and lead them to improve their own habits.
While visual distractions are important to look out for, there are 2 other types of distractions that are also just ask risky that we outlined in our 3-part-series:
Lytx’s video telematics solutions use vehicle cameras equipped with MV+AI to help detect distracted driving. Schedule a demo to see how it works.