2012 Driving Statistics

2012 Driving Statistics, from Tazewell Police Department Chief Dewitt Cooper:

– 107,240 traffic crashes in Virginia (11% decrease)

– 58,547 people were injured in crashes on Virginia roadways (7% decrease)

– 773 people died in crashes in Virginia (DMV preliminary 1% increase)

– 80% of crashes and 65% of near crashes are caused by distracted driving

So many of us think it is alright to send a quick text while waiting at a stoplight. Or, read an email from a friend. We think those actions are okay because it only takes a few seconds. Did you know that an average text takes nearly 5 seconds, which means your eyes are off the road for the entire length of a football field? Just talking on your cell phone is distracting. According to the NHTSA, cell phone users are 18% slower to take action when seeing brake lights.

“All drivers need to do is to turn their phone off when they’re driving, or hand their phone to a passenger,” said Brooking. “Motorists need to realize they can’t multi-task behind the wheel. When you’re driving, paying attention to the road is your job and your responsibility.”

“That’s the best solution,” said (Eric R. McGuire). “If you can’t turn the phone off, then put it in the glove compartment or out of reach. We would like to see fewer drivers using a phone when they’re driving.”

Distracted driving isn’t limited to your cell phone. Set your GPS before you drive away, not when you’re driving. Eat in a restaurant, not in the car; and remember that kids in the back seat can also be a distraction. Avoid turning around to tend to children as much as possible. Finally, remind friends and family to the dangers of being distracted while driving. For more information, please visit: www.drivesmartva.org