Laws and Safety Efforts Can Prevent Distracted Driving
When a person reads a text while driving, their eyes are off the road for an average of five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that is like driving the length of a football field while blindfolded. Distracted driving continues to be an increasing problem. Crashes involving a distracted driver killed 3,142 people in 2019, up nearly 10 percent from 2018.
Every U.S. state currently has restrictions in place to address distracted driving, but the laws vary in scope and rigor. Some states—including Ohio, Michigan and Utah—are considering legislation in 2021 to enhance their distracted driving laws.
TRB’s Behavioral Traffic Safety Cooperative Research Program (BTSCRP) offers an array of resources, best practices, and tools like model legislation and presentations for law enforcement in Using Electronic Devices While Driving: Legislation and Enforcement Implications. Policymakers and other stakeholders can reference the newly compiled information to identify ways to enhance enforcement and education efforts. Jurisdictions with strong traffic safety laws, supported by enforcement, public education, and outreach, tend to have lower overall traffic fatality rates.
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