Distracted driving is a cause for concern in Ohio and beyond. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that thousands of people are killed in distracted-related crashes every year.
Ohio residents will not keep quiet about the dangers and devastation caused by distracted-driving crashes. The Ohio Insurance Institute (OII) firmly backs Ohio House Bill 95, which incorporates stricter penalties for distracted driving violations.
While House Bill 95 is a strong foundation to encourage Ohio drivers to forego distractions like texting and checking social media, it’s only the start. OII members are committed to addressing the public safety crisis of distracted driving, especially as the holiday season nears. That’s because distracted driving is greater during the holidays thanks to busier travel routes and hectic schedules.
Below, we provide resources, and ways for you to get involved in the fight against distracted driving this holiday season.
What qualifies as distracted driving?
NHTSA defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts your attention away from the main task of driving.”
While cellphone use and texting are two of the most obvious distractions, other common activities like eating, drinking, grooming, and programming a GPS or navigation system all constitute as distracted driving activities as well.
What qualifies as impaired driving?
The Governors Highway Safety Association defines impaired driving as “the crime or offense of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.” Although there are different consequences as a result of driving impaired, this too constitutes as a form of distracted driving.
Is distracted driving more common during the holidays?
Distracted driving is a year-round issue in the U.S. Yet, statistics show, distracted driving is even more pronounced during the holiday season, as more Americans travel.
That, along with increased alcohol consumption during the holiday season with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, can cause an uptick in auto crashes.
In fact, NHTSA reports “40% of traffic-related deaths during the holidays are a result of drunk drivers.”
And with November in session and December in sight, motorists not only face the dangers of distracted and impaired driving, but also the challenges of driving in adverse weather conditions.
OII member Travelers Insurance (@Travelers) encourages winter drivers to eliminate all unnecessary distractions when behind the wheel. In doing so, drivers can devote their full attention to the road and be aware of changing conditions.
How can I avoid distracted driving?
“It’s always good to assume that not everyone is paying attention or driving as carefully as you, but your preparation, perspective, and sense of accountability can make a huge impact on whether you arrive somewhere safely or put yourself at risk of an accident.”
- Turn your phone off, or put it away.
- Be proactive; anticipate distractions.
- Call on your passengers for help.
- Use hands-free, wireless technologies and apps.
- Be vocal about the dangers of distractions with passengers and teen drivers.
For the complete list of tips, read Grange Insurance’s full article, “Don’t think you drive distracted?.”
See these resources for more ways our members and partners educate others on the importance of winter safety:
- Allstate (@Allstate): 3 Tips for Safe Driving, Distracted Driving: Understanding Your Fellow Drivers
- American Family Insurance (@amfam): American Family Insurance Is Taking a Stand Against Teen Distracted Driving, Text-Free Driving: You’ve Got This
- Central Insurance Companies (@Central_Ins): May We Have Your Attention Please
- Erie Insurance (@erie_insurance): What You Need to Know About Distracted Driving
- Farmers Insurance (@WeAreFarmers): Distracted Driving
- Grange Insurance (@GrangeInsurance): Grange Insurance on Driving With Smartphones: Put It Away