Wednesday, April 10, 2013
NHTSA Says 660,000 Drivers Using Mobile Devices at any Given Moment
The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released new survey results that show that Americans continue to use electronic devices while driving, despite warnings that it causes their own driving to deteriorate and can lead to crashes, injuries and even death. The new data are being released to coincide with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
The National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) shows that at any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010. According to separate NHTSA data, more than 3,300 people were killed in 2011 and 387,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.
"Distracted driving is a serious and deadly epidemic on America's roadways," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "There is no way to text and drive safely. Powering down your cell phone when you're behind the wheel can save lives - maybe even your own."
More than 6,000 respondents age 16 and older were interviewed by phone for the National Survey on Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behaviors. Almost half of drivers said they answer an incoming call and one in four drivers are willing to place a call on all, most, or some trips. Slightly fewer are willing to make a call while driving compared to 2010 (28 percent to 24 percent), but there is little if any change in those who answer a call while driving (52 percent to 49 percent). Considering that in 2011 there were almost 212 million licensed drivers in the America, about 102 million drivers were answering calls and 50 million drivers were placing calls while driving.