Distracted Driving Kills

UnityPoint Clinic - Express (Jordan Creek)

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Distracted Driving Kills

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Hundreds of Iowans die and thousands more are injured each year on our public roadways despite increased safety efforts and new laws put in place to protect drivers. Those most at risk are young drivers (ages 14-24), who only represent 17 percent of Iowa’s licensed drivers, but suffer 40 percent of all fatal and serious motor vehicle injuries. In fact, motor vehicle crashes is the number one cause of death among teens in the United States, who are more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crashes than any other age group.

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes involving young drivers. Five seconds is the average time your eyes are taken off the road when sending a text message. While this may seem like mere seconds, it is enough time to cover the distance of a football field when moving at 55 mph, and in incidents involving distracted driving, the distraction occurred within three seconds of the crash.

Saving the lives of teen drivers in Iowa requires a collaborative effort from driver educators, law enforcement and health care providers, but perhaps most importantly, an active role from parents and guardians. Educating your child on traffic safety before they get behind the wheel and leading by example is key to their safety and could be a matter of life and death. Take a few seconds now to share these statistics with them, because in a split second things can change.

Distracted Driving Statistics

National Statistics

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of death among teens in the US
  • Teens (ages 15-19) behind the wheel and their peer passengers account for one in every five deaths in the US
  • Motor vehicle crashes kill nearly five times as many teens as cancer or poisoning.

Iowa Statistics

  • In Iowa, young drivers (ages 14-24) represent 17 percent of licensed drivers, but suffer 40 percent of all fatal and serious traffic injuries.
  • In Iowa from 2002-2006, 119 teens (ages 14-17) died in a crash while riding in a vehicle driven by a teen.

Added distractions:

  • Driver distraction contributes to 16% of all fatal crashes for drivers under the age of 20
  • Cell phones:
    • 5 seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting.
    • When traveling at 55mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football
    • In incidents involving distracted driving, the distraction occurred within 3 seconds of the crash.
  • Passengers:
    • When a teen drives with more than one passenger, the risk of crashing is 3-5 times higher than while driving alone.
  • The presence of a male passenger results in faster speeds and more risky driving behaviors in both male female drivers.

Steer Your Teen in the Right Direction - Role of Parents:

  • When a parent or guardian is in the car, teen drivers rarely crash. Remove the adult, and the crash rate increases by 700%. Seat belt use also drops to less than 40%.
  • Talk is cheap - show your kids what safe driving looks like. In a recent study by Liberty Mutual Insurance, 69% of parents of teen drivers practice at least 2 dangerous or distracting behaviors while driving. Nearly 1/2 perform at least 3 distracting behaviors.