Distracted Drivers Causing Crashes

By: Amanda O'Neal
By: Amanda O'Neal

A new study reveals that people are doing more than just driving while they're behind the wheel and that's causing more accidents than researchers originally thought.

"We know that driver inattention and distraction is a large cause of crashes," said Dave Willis with the Texas Transportation Institution.

Willis says he's not surprised by the findings of a new study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It monitored the habits of 241 drivers and found that drowsiness and distractions caused nearly 80 percent of crashes.

"That simply means that people need to pay more attention to the driver task, avoid getting distracted by things outside of the vehicle, passengers in the vehicle, cell phones, the radio, whatever. You've got to pay attention to the driving and watch the road ahead," said Willis.

Most drivers say that's easier said than done.

"I try not to drive drowsy just because I've heard too many stories about people who have done that and they were in accidents. However, I know I've talked on the cell phone and also done makeup and different things so those are things that I should probably avoid," said College Station resident, Mary Hein.

"Occasionally I'll talk on my cell phones and if that happens I'll keep my eye on the road at all times. Occasionally I'll skim through songs and stuff but nothing too bad to where I'm completely distracted from the road," said Texas A&M student, Jeremy Jenkins.

The most common distraction for drivers is cell phones. Willis worries motorists are using their phones for more than just talking.

"I'm really concerned about the text messaging. We're aware of serious, fatal crashes occurring when people are text messaging. That is a particularly dangerous thing to do," said Willis.

One thing local experts say the study doesn't accurately show is the number of alcohol related crashes which is a big problem here in Texas.

No matter how you analyze the data, one thing's for sure, you shouldn't use your multi-tasking skills on the road.


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