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Distracted Driving is a Nationwide Problem, what NHTSA is Doing About it

Posted by Sara Cooper | Nov 30, 2023 | 0 Comments

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is estimated that a little under 43,000 deaths in the U.S. were resulted from car crashes in 2022. This is one of highest number of fatalities in over 16 years.

The Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at University of California San Diego program and one of their goals is to improve the safety for all road users, including non-drivers. A $360,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety was given to NHTSA.  

The UC San Diego Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety (TREDS) has a variety of courses, online training, and written materials that are applied in learning measures for law enforcement, roadway professionals, and other actors involved in transportation safety that can be applied in educating the public. These tools are also free, and some topics include prevention of distraction driving and impaired driving due to drugs and alcohol.

Distracted driving is an action that takes away the driver's attention from the duty of safe driving, and for 2024, TREDS is making that a priority of educating the dangers to the public according to numerous sources.  

“Distracted driving is dangerous,” said Linda Hill, M.D., M.P.H., Distinguished Professor in the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and TREDS program director. “Sending a text while behind the wheel takes your eyes off the road for almost five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, this is the equivalent of driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”

According to EurkeAlert!, “TREDS initiated the “Just Drive – Take Action Against Distraction” educational curriculum in 2013, which has been taught statewide by safety professionals in worksites and communities. To expand the reach of the program, TREDS will develop an online version of the educational curriculum this year that can be accessed by anyone at no charge. The program emphasizes the risks and consequences of distracted driving, as well as strategies to avoid this dangerous behavior.”

“Injuries and deaths due to distracted driving occur much too often and the impact can be devastating,” said Hill. “With increased education and awareness, these crashes are 100 percent preventable. Crashes are not ‘accidents' – 95 percent are due to poor choices made by drivers. With elimination of these risky antecedent behaviors, the roads will be safer for everyone.”

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