Responsible drivers in Silver Spring and the D.C. area already know that distracted driving is dangerous. Still, seeing statistics about the harm distracted driving causes can truly help us understand what a public safety crisis it is.
Unfortunately, the facts are grim. AAA Mid-Atlantic says that distracted driving car accidents kill nearly nine people every day in the United States.
To put this shocking statistic another way: in 2019, car accidents caused by distracted driving in the U.S. were responsible for 3,142 fatalities. That worked out to 8.6 deaths per day and was about a ten percent increase over 2018. Not only is distracted driving a terrible traffic problem, but it also appears to be getting worse.
Local distracted driving crash statistics
Fortunately, the death rate based on distracted driving seems to be lower in this part of the country, but it still needs to be taken seriously. AAA reported that distracted driving injured more than 126,000 people in Maryland in 2019. Distracted driving contributed to about 48 percent of collisions that year.
The ‘hangover effect’ of distracted driving
One issue that contributes to the distracted driving crash trend is the “hangover effect.” This refers to the time that passes from when a driver putting down their phone or other distraction until their brain is fully focused on the road again. Experts say the hangover effect can last up to 27 seconds. Someone traveling at highway speeds can cover a lot of ground in 27 seconds.
This also explains why it is still unsafe to use your phone while stopped at a red light or in a traffic jam. Just because a driver is not distracting themselves at the moment does not mean their brain is as focused on driving as it should be. Too often, the result of the hangover effect is a serious injury to innocent people.