According to a recent survey conducted by AT&T, 98 percent of Americans know that distracted driving is a dangerous activity. While phone-related distractions have received a lot of attention in recent years, any activity that takes a driver's attention off of the road can result in a serious accident and injuries.
One insurance company recently undertook a study of national motor vehicle accident data to try to quantify the source of distraction-related crashes. The results might surprise some readers, especially given the intense focus on phone-related distractions.
The top ten most dangerously distracting activities are:
1. Drivers who are "lost in thought" or daydreaming cause 62 percent of distraction-related crashes.
2. Cell phone use, which includes talking, dialing and texting, accounts for only 12 percent of accidents.
3. An object, person or event outside of the car (i.e., rubbernecking) - 7 percent.
4. Internal objects or distractions such as looking at or talking to other people inside the car - 5 percent.
5. Using or reaching for a device, including GPS systems - 2 percent.
6. Eating and drinking - 2 percent.
7. Adjusting volume and climate controls inside the vehicle - 2 percent.
8. Using vehicle-related devices and controls, for example adjusting seats or mirrors - 1 percent.
9. Reacting to a moving object or animal inside the car - 1 percent.
10. Smoking-related activities like lighting a cigarette - 1 percent.
Studies like this reinforce the importance of focusing on the road. Unfortunately, people are just not as good at multi-tasking as they think they are.
Source: Insurance Journal, "Insurer Analyzes Top 10 Driving Distractions Involved in Fatal Car Crashes," Apr. 4, 2013