Over 1 million people are killed in vehicle crashes each year. That's equal to one death every 30 seconds, according to the World Health Organization. A further 20-50 million people are injured, some permanently. Up to 90% of those accidents are caused by driver behavior, not road conditions or mechanical issues. The two biggest driver behaviors that cause accidents are drunk/impaired driving and distracted driving. Distracted drivers are over four times as likely to be involved in a crash as drivers who stay focused on the road. Drivers who send or receive texts are up to 20 times more likely.
Countries across the globe are realizing that distracted driving is becoming an epidemic and are taking steps to do something about it. To date over 32 counties have put laws into place making cell phone use while driving illegal. Read on to find out how we can protect Koreans on the road.
Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving isn’t just using your phone. Fiddling with the radio, eating, putting on makeup, reaching for things on the floor or backseat, and even talking to passengers are all forms of distracted driving, and all just as dangerous. If it affects your ability to see, physically control the car, or concentrate, it's distracted driving. According to the Korea Times, 9 out of 10 Koreans text while driving, despite the fact that cellphone use while driving is against the law.
You've probably heard people boast that they can drive and do other things at the same time just fine. It's not true. Studies have proven that a driver who is distracted is no better a driver than one who is drunk. Just because you haven't gotten into an accident yet doesn't mean a thing. It's not a question of if, but when. If you text and drive or otherwise drive distracted, you will cause an accident sooner or later.
What Can Be Done?
For teens and others who may not be able to resist their phones, there are apps available that will disable the device while the car is in motion. There is also technology being developed for connected cars that can block WiFi and cellular signals and even detect when a driver is not looking at the road. It’s ironic that technology, which has contributed greatly to the distracted driving epidemic, may also contribute effective ways to combat it.
There are also common things you can do, like putting your phone and mobile devices in the backseat or trunk, avoiding having more than one or two passengers and eating only in rest areas and dining establishments rather than behind the wheel.
Distracted driving has taken too many lives. There is no text, selfie, Facebook post or anything else that is worth risking your life or the lives of your passengers and fellow motorists. When you’re behind the wheel, the only thing you should be concentrating on is the road.