Use ‘multifaceted approach’ to combat distraction

Traffic Safety Pulse News

(AASHTO)A new study compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicated that a “multifaceted approach” that leverages enforcement efforts alongside public outreach efforts could buttress efforts to end distracted driving.

Along with strengthening laws and beefing up enforcement, the IIHS study recommended a focus on “leveraging friendships and family ties” to “inspire change,” as that would help make drivers more aware of how serious a threat distraction represents and offering solutions to the common barriers that prevent them from simply ignoring their phones.

“It may come as a surprise, but many drivers still don’t realize how dangerous it is to check a text message or glance at their Instagram feed while they’re zipping along the road,” said IIHS Research Associate Aimee Cox, the lead author of the study, in a statement.

The study noted that police reports indicate that more than 3,000 people died in distraction-related crashes across the United States in 2020, accounting for 8 percent of all traffic-related fatalities. However, because it is “difficult to determine if distraction contributed to a crash,” IIHS said that number “is almost certainly an underestimate.”

Phone use is now so constant that around half of some 2,000 U.S. drivers surveyed by IIHS reported performing at least one device-based task on most or all drives over the past month. 

Woman actively on the phone while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle