The National Safety Council has released survey results showing 82 percent of Americans feel the most pressure from their families to drive distracted. The finding not only sheds light on why Americans continue to drive distracted, but also underscores their ongoing struggle to accurately assess risk.
Two-thirds of drivers felt unsafe because of another driver’s distraction, but far fewer – just 25 percent – recognized that their own distractions have put themselves or others at risk.
The survey was released in conjunction with the start of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, observed each April.
“It is a sad irony that the people we love are actually jeopardizing our safety,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “If you really care, don’t call to say, ‘I love you,’ instead encourage your family to set everything else aside, disconnect and focus only on the road.”
The dangers of using cell phones – even hands-free – while driving have been understood for years, yet there are more ways than ever to stay connected behind the wheel. In-vehicle systems allow drivers to call, text, email, update social media and browse the internet, despite research showing these systems cause distraction that can linger long after the driver finishes the task.
Encouragingly, 55 percent of drivers said if their vehicle or phone came with a technology solution to prevent distraction, they would not turn it off.
Other key findings from the poll included:
54 per cent of drivers still feel pressure from work to drive distracted
Of the teen drivers surveyed, 73 percent said their friends put the most pressure on them to drive distracted – slightly higher than family (71 percent)
74 percent of drivers would use Facebook behind the wheel
1 in 4 drivers would feel much better about their drive if there was no way to use technology behind the wheel
66 percent of drivers would talk on the phone while driving through a parking lot – a chaotic environment with many hazards
For more information about Distracted Driving Awareness Month, visit nsc.org/ddmonth