As the Memorial Day weekend approaches, MARC’s Destination Safe Coalition wants to remind drivers in the Greater Kansas City region to drive safely by eliminating distractions, especially talking and texting on cell phones.
In our region distracted driving accounts for approximately one-quarter of all roadway fatalities. Between 2007 and 2011, 184 people lost their lives and 2,016 sustained severe enough injures to require transport to a hospital because of distracted driving. No one is immune to the dangers of distracted driving — regardless of age — but a majority of crashes occur with young drivers.
Keep the following research in mind before you text or talk while driving:
- The Distracted Driving Pilot Survey, conducted last year, noted that 955 out of the 6,438 drivers observed — nearly 15 percent — were driving while distracted. Of those, young drivers (age 16-29) were twice as likely to be observed texting than older drivers (30 and older).
- In April, Transportation Matters drew focus to a separate study by the Texas Transportation Institute which suggests that sending text messages over the phone via voice-recognition applications is just as unsafe as manually typing text messages. Despite drivers’ perceptions that they are more attentive while using voice-recognition software, the survey showed driver reaction times nearly doubled when either method of texting was used.
- The popular Discovery Channel show “Mythbusters” tackled the topic of distracted driving in a segment comparing talking on a cell phone to drunk driving. Mythbusters hosts Kari Byron, Jamie Hyneman, and Adam Savage determined that driving distracted was just as dangerous as driving while drunk.
MARC’s Destination Safe Coalition establishes transportation safety priorities and coordinates efforts to improve transportation safety in the Kansas City region.