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Distracted driving still a problem despite reduced fatalities

It seems that every year, Georgia drivers find that their insurance premiums continue to rise. This is due in part to the effect of distracted and drowsy driving at the state level. In fact, this is a problem nationwide. The NHTSA noted that in 2016, there was a 5.6% increase in road fatalities from 2015.

Even so, the silver lining was that distracted and drowsy driving fatalities had fallen. Distracted driving fatalities had declined by 2.2%, while there was a 3.5% decrease in fatalities resulting from drowsy driving. Why then did the road fatalities increase? Other reckless driving behaviors are to blame. These include speeding, not wearing seatbelts and driving under the influence.

This reduction in distracted driving fatalities may sound like cause for celebration, but it masks the fact that it is still contributing to thousands of deaths. The NHTSA reported for 2017 that 3,166 people had been killed as a result of distracted driving. When people think of distracted driving, texting and driving may be the main activity that comes to mind, but there are other activities that may divert a driver's attention. These include eating, applying makeup and attempting to change the radio station.

Ultimately, reducing and eliminating distracted driving will require more than laws; it requires community effort. Parents need to lead by example, so that teenagers may then follow in their footsteps as they learn to drive. Educators and employers should also get involved to raise awareness and encourage teenagers and adults alike to look out for each other on the road when they see peers and family members exhibiting unsafe driving behaviors.

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