Some people are more likely than others to perform dangerous driving behaviors like texting while driving, daydreaming, eating, drinking, adjusting control dials, reading road signs, engaging in conversation, or otherwise not focusing on operating a motor vehicle. While anyone is at risk of becoming a distracted driver, young male neurotics who drive frequently and are extroverted are most often inattentive drivers.
Who is the Distracted Driver?
In the US, teenagers and young adults under the age of 20 are most likely to drive while distracted. Texting is the most common form of distraction and in 2015, 42% of teens reported texting while driving.
Research from Norway collected from 1500 teenagers demonstrated that certain factors may predispose motorists towards distracted driving behaviors. One factor that increases the likelihood of distracted driving is the individual’s gender, with males engaging in the behavior more frequently than females. Other factors include mental status with neurotic and extroverts engaging in distracted driving more often than those who are rational and introverted. The Norwegian study also showed higher prevalence rates for individuals who feel distracted driving is acceptable and those who feel there is nothing that can be done to stop the behavior.
Distracted Driving and Other Dangerous Behaviors
The CDC has found that distracted drivers have a tendency to adopt other dangerous driving habits. Teens who drive distracted are more likely to eschew wearing their seat belt, drive while drunk, and ride in a vehicle with a driver who is drinking. Unfortunately, many young adults and teens are not making the connection between the dangers certain behaviors present and the steps they can take to protect themselves from suffering a serious personal injury or becoming a fatality in an automobile accident in Illinois.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that there are 9 fatalities and 1,000 injuries caused by distracted driving behaviors. In 2015, there were 3,477 fatalities and 391,000 personal injuries caused by distracted drivers. One in six injuries and one in every ten fatalities are caused by a distracted driver. To counter distracted driving among the highest risk demographic, 14 states and DC have banned handheld phone use, and 46 states have outright bans on texting while driving.