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According to NegligentDriving.com, a consumer information site hosted by representatives in the restaurant industry, negligent driving is statistically more dangerous today than drunk driving! Both the total number of traffice fatalities and the rate of traffic fatalities have increased over the last 20 years while fatalities from drunk driving accidents have plummeted.
Traffic fatalities from accidents involving illegal blood alcohol content (BAC) dropped from about 55% in 1982 to less than 35% in 2005. Yet, traffic fatalities from accidents involving no alcohol increased from 40% in 1982 to over 60% in 2005. Why?
According to Negligent Driving the rate of highway deaths will only decrease when the dangers of negligent driving are taken more seriously, as drunk driving has been, by groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, law enforcement agencies, and state legislatures. Negligent driving includes such risky behavior as speeding, fatigued driving, and distracted driving.
Speeding, for example, is even glamourized by the sports industry, commercials and films, and even has a cable channel as a namesake. The public gives almost no thought to the dangers of speeding and motorists routinely drive at 10, 15 or even 20 mph over the speed limit without a second thought. Yet, speeding accounted for 30% of all traffic fatalities in 2005. Driving 10 mph faster than surrounding traffic is like driving with a .09% BAC. Driving 15 mph faster than surrounding traffic is like driving with a .12% BAC, and driving 20 mph faster is like having a .14% BAC.
Distracted driving, like driving while talking on a cellular telephone, text messaging, fixing your hair, putting on make-up, reading, writing, talking or listening to music, has become an everyday activity for most commuters. Distracted driving is the number one killer of American teens. Brain power used while driving decreases by 40% when a driver is listening to a conversation or music. It is estimated that a million people a day drive while emailing or text messaging. Drivers talking on cell phones are more impaired than drivers at a .08 BAC.
Think about all of this when you take to the highways this summer. If you’re multi-tasking while driving, you may be more dangerous than a drunk driver. Drive safely, and pay attention to the task at hand.