Who is Most Likely to Drive Distracted?

Every year, thousands are killed on the roads by distracted drivers. Hundreds of thousands more are injured. Even though most people appreciate the dangers of driving while talking on their cellphones, or texting, or even changing the music, far too many in our society continue these dangerous behaviors. Around the country, laws are being created which aim to curtail distracted driving. Additionally, technology companies and app developers are finding new and interesting ways to limit people’s ability to drive while using their cellphones. It’s important, when you talk about distracted driving, to understand the various ways that people drive distracted and which groups of people are most likely to do so.

Who is the Most Likely to Drive Distracted?

According to AAA, the group of people most likely to drive distracted are millennials. 88 percent of drivers age 19 to 25 years old engaged in “at least one risky behavior behind the wheel” in the last 30 days. Among these types of risky behavior are speeding, running traffic lights, and texting while driving. Research has shown that talking on a cell phone quadruples your risk of an accident, which is about the same as driving drunk. That risk doubles again if you are texting while driving. People are simply incapable of focusing on both tasks simultaneously. When one of those tasks carries the risk of grievous injury or even death when performed incorrectly, it’s obvious that change is required. Technology, especially smartphone technology, is omnipresent in the millennial generation. They’ve practically grown up with phones in their hands. For this reason, it’s not terribly surprising that they would continue that behavior when they drive.

After younger millennials (19-25 years of age), the next group most likely to engage in risky and distracted driving are drivers aged 25 to 39 years old. Although drivers between 60 and 74 were the least likely to speed, run traffic lights, or text, 67 percent still reported doing so in the last 30 days. For this reason, the blame for distracted driving accidents, injuries, and deaths isn’t entirely the fault of millennials. It’s an issue that spans generations.

What Can Be Done to Curtail Distracted Driving?

State governments and technology companies are uniting to reduce the rates of distracted driving. Governments are making driving while texting or talking on the phone strictly illegal, with severe penalties for repeat offenders. Developers of technology are creating devices and programs which can detect when a person is driving, and prevent them from becoming distracted. Apple’s newest iOS release has the option to switch into Do Not Disturb mode so that drivers won’t be notified of calls or texts while they are driving. Some critics believe that this is just a band aid which doesn’t do enough to address the problem.

Distracted Driving in Oregon

In Oregon, lawmakers have implemented a new law to prevent distracted driving. Taking effect on October 1st, this new law updates an earlier version that was enacted in 2009. The previous version of the law prohibited texting while driving and mandated the use of a hands-free device for calls, but had a loophole which allowed drivers to do basically anything else on their phones while driving. They just couldn’t text or hold their phone while they made a call. The new law closes this loophole by prohibiting drivers from using any function of the phone that requires holding or touching. The penalty for breaking this law is strict fines which escalate for repeat offenders. The worst offenders could even face jail time. If millennials and other generational groups want to avoid these penalties, it’s important that they adjust their driving behaviors.

Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney

If you’ve been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced Oregon auto accident attorney. With over 70 collective years of legal and trial experience, the attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield can answer any question you might have in a free consultation. 


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