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Damaging toll of distracted driving outlined in CDC report

In our last post, we talked about the dangers pedestrians face — but also the apparent progress that was being made in pedestrian safety. A drop in pedestrian fatalities in the first half of 2013 when compared to the first half of 2012 was a positive sign after three years of rising pedestrian rates. However, now there’s a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that says distracted driving is just as serious a problem as it has always been made out to be.

According to the CDC, nine people die every day in the U.S. because of an accident that involved a distracted driver. Another 1,060 people are injured every day as a resulted of distracted driving. All told, about 3,300 people die every year and about 400,000 people are hurt every year because of distracted driving.

The study also found that Americans have a greater propensity to check their cell phones while driving than our counterparts in Europe. 69 percent of Americans aged 18-64 said they used their cellphone behind the wheel of a car in the past 30 days. Europeans, on the other hand, had a smaller range of distracted, cell-phone-adoring driver: anywhere from 21 to 59 percent said they checked their cell phone in the last 30 days. The range comes from a variety of different countries polled in Europe.

Clearly we have a long way to go in the fight against distracted driving. Even though Arizona doesn’t have a law against cellphone use while driving or texting while driving doesn’t mean that the act isn’t reckless.

Source: Washington Post, “Distracted driving: 9 die, 1,060 hurt each day, CDC says,” Ashley Halsey III, Feb. 24, 2014

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