Distracted Driving Down Slightly, But Cellphone Use Drops Significantly
While we're still being challenged by distractions behind the wheel, apparently cellphones and digital devices are becoming less of an issue.
The Washington State Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) just released Wednesday a report detailing how we're doing behind the wheel. According to the Commission:
"The survey findings estimate the driver distraction rate was 8.2 percent in 2018, down from 9.2 percent in both 2016 and 2017, although this change was not significant. Driver distraction includes all activities that divert attention and full engagement from the task of driving including general inattention (lost in thought), smoking, eating, grooming, reading, interactions with passengers or vehicle controls, and electronic device use. "
So, the "cellphone-use cut-back" campaigns appear to be working well. However, there's still plenty of other distractions we're dealing with. Cellphone use dropped at 2-3 times the rate of overall distracted driving.
Officials say the cellphone drop is likely due to the 2017 passage (it went into effect in 2018) of the Driving Under the Influence of Electronics Act, which greatly increased penalties for digital use behind the wheel.
The ones that really got our attention as far as distractions included "reading" and grooming. Maybe allow a little more time in the morning, huh? Or an audiobook?!?