OSEA Safety Blog

National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Thursday, April 14, 2022 Amy Wittmeyer

National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
“One Text or Call Could Wreck It All” is a campaign run by the US Department of Transportation’s Traffic Safety Marketing group, and the slogan is very appropriate. Distracted drivers were involved in crashes that killed 3,142 people in 2019 and injured some 400,000 people in 2018. It is estimated that nine people are killed every day by a distracted driver in the US. Texting is one of the most common and dangerous causes of distracted driving; at any given moment in the U.S, there could be over 650,000 drivers using electronic devices while their vehicle is in motion. But texting isn’t the only form of distracted driving; according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are three main types of distractions:

  1. Visual- looking at a phone in your hand, or a dog or child in the backseat
  2. Manual- eating, putting on Chapstick, or any other activity that takes your hands off the wheel
  3. Cognitive- stressing about what to make for dinner, or having a rousing conversation with a passenger

Another common distraction that doesn’t often get addressed is a loose pet in the vehicle, whether a dog, cat, or other furry friend. A study by AAA found that while 83% of respondents agree that driving with unrestrained dogs is unsafe, 65% still admitted to engaging in distracting activities with dogs in the car, including:

  • Petting the dog
  • Wrestling with the dog to keep it in the backseat
  • Letting the dog sit on their lap
  • Giving treats
  • Reaching into the backseat to play with the dog

Driving with unrestrained pets is not only a distraction, but also a serious danger in the event of a crash caused by the pet’s distraction. At 50 mph, a ten-pound cat can turn into a window-shattering projectile with 500 lbs. of force; at just 30 mph, an 80-lb Labrador can fly through the car with 2,400 lbs. of force. At these speeds and forces, a loose pet in the car is a danger to not only the other occupants of the car, but also any other drivers involved in a crash. Because of these risks, driving with unrestrained pets is illegal in many states, and can lead to fines and tickets. For the safety of yourself, your passengers, and your pets, it is always best to crate or harness any pets in the vehicle to avoid distraction, tickets, and possible injury.


Distracted Driving Dangers and Statistics | NHTSA


One Text Or Call Could Wreck It All | Traffic Safety Marketing

Is Driving With Your Pets Distracted Driving? | TorkLaw

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