Driver Distraction Now Accounts for 80% of all U.S. Traffic Accidents

Current studies cited by the Insurance Information Institute reveal that driver distraction now accounts for approximately 80% of all traffic accidents in the United States. Additionally, around 65% of all “almost” collisions are also caused by driver distraction.

The No. 1 cause of accidents caused by driver distraction is, of course, talking on a cell phone while driving, with the old standbys, talking, eating/drinking, loud music, personal grooming, reaching for an object, smoking, other drivers, road accidents, etc. all in the mix. The average time from moment of distraction to incident of accident is a little over three seconds. Just as a point of scientific reference, when you drive at 60 miles per hour, you are traveling at 88 feet per second. Per second, my friend. As you can probably conjecture, a lot can happen within 88 feet of distance out on the road and it’s all going to happen within 1 second.

If you happen to be driving a 3-ton (that’s 6000 pounds) or over Lexus LX460 or Chevrolet Suburban, the mayhem and carnage you can inflict on those around you at 60 mph is stunning. And if you are the other motorist, the one in the new Honda Fit (about 2600 pounds) that gets hit by the tiny woman in the huge Lexus SUV that’s talking on the mobile phone while her sullen teenager has the Shins or Badly Drawn Boy cranked up on the iPod, well, basically, what you have there is a physics lesson. Your mangled car and equally mangled corpse are the results of that lesson.

So, everyone pay attention out there.

Author: Brendan Moore

Brendan Moore is a Principal Consultant with Cedar Point Consulting , a management consulting practice based in the Washington, DC area. He also manages Autosavant Consulting, a separate practice within Cedar Point Consulting. where he advises businesses connected to the auto industry. Cedar Point Consulting can be found at

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