A recent study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute revealed alarming details regarding driver distractions.
The research findings showed that of all the car crashes documented in the U.S., 80 percent were caused by some form of driver distraction. Sixty-five percent of all near crashes reported by Americans were also caused by distraction inside the vehicle.
Researchers were also able to find out that the majority of accidents involving single vehicles were caused by driver distraction. They also arrived at the same conclusion with rear-end collisions and similar incidents.
The study also pointed out that after a driver is distracted, accidents and near crashes usually occur within three seconds. Industry experts say that the findings are alarming especially since most American drivers are fond of doing several things at once while behind the wheel.
Professor Harold F. Risk, a researcher from St. Cloud State University, says that some actions are known to have cause more accident fatalities than anything else. He singled out several actions and distractions that cause most car crashes. Risk also pointed out that driver distraction results in vehicular accidents that cost the lives of some 42,000 Americans each year.
According to Risk, the top distraction that drivers are fond of is talking on their mobile phones. Texting can also make motorists lose their concentration and focus on the road ahead. Playing with the car radio or stereo can also result in potentially fatal accidents.
The researcher also quipped that some drivers even read newspapers while driving, forcing them to shift attention from driving to reading. The same also goes for motorists who light cigarettes and smoke while driving. Experts say that cigarette butts or ash can make motorists look away from the front of the vehicle.
Believe it or not, researchers say, some drivers even find the time to apply makeup or shave while driving. This presents a huge potential for disaster, they say, especially when cars are zipping along at 60 or 70 miles an hour. Any sudden jerks of the steering wheel can cause major pile-ups.
Worse, some Americans even eat entire meals and drink coffee while behind the wheel. Passengers in the front seat often hold the wheel while the driver controls the gas and brake pedals. With two drivers controlling the car, experts say that such actions can almost certainly cause major car crashes.
Operating electronic devices like GPS systems and portable DVD players can also result in car accidents, experts point out.