Washington has never before examined the distracted driving behavior of its residents in detail. In an effort to reduce the number of Washington distracted driving accidents that occur annually, researchers at the University of Washington have completed the first detailed examination of electronic-related distraction concerning residents of the Evergreen State. The results of the UW study are frustrating.
In essence, the UW study determined that nearly 10 percent of Washington drivers are engaging in distracted driving at any given time. Of those distracted drivers, nearly half are engaging in texting behind the wheel. UW researchers determined these statistics after randomized observance of the behaviors of nearly 8,000 drivers at controlled intersections in six Washington counties.
One of the study’s principal investigators recently explained that, “These findings suggest that distracted driving is more common than we thought and that texting has become a major cause of distraction. Most people support laws restricting texting and cell phone use in vehicles, yet some choose to engage in behaviors that put everyone on the road at risk.”
Distracted driving behavior now causes more motor vehicle accidents nationwide than any other kind of driving behavior. In order for Washington motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to remain as safe as possible, the prevalence of distracted driving must be reigned in significantly.
Now that the UW study has been completed and released, hopefully the public will understand just how grave this situation has become. Ultimately, drivers will need to change their behavior of their own accord or state lawmakers will be compelled to hold them accountable for a failure to do so.
Source: University of Washington, “Nearly half of state’s distracted drivers are texting,” Sep. 13, 2013