Harlan students learn about distracted driving

Staff Report

November 8, 2013

Kentucky Office of Highway Safety (KOHS) and the Cumberland Valley Area Development District (CVADD) helped raise awareness of students at Harlan High School on Wednesday on the issue of distracted driving.

Due to the loss of classmates and friends, distracted driving is currently a pressing issue for many high school students. High schools across the nation have formed teen-led organizations and promoted educational opportunities that are shaping driving attitudes and behaviors.

The KOHS and CVADD coordinate several highway safety events in schools throughout the year.

The Distracted Driving (D2) Simulator is the most popular educational tool for high school students. The simulator exposes teenagers to the real-life hazards of distracted driving without risking their lives.

According to recent studies, driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes. Based on nationwide statistics, nearly 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involve some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event.

Primary causes of driver inattention are distracting activities such as adjusting the radio, talking to passengers, eating and drinking, talking on cell phones and sending text messages.

According to data, there were more than 61,000 collisions where driver distraction was noted as a factor.

These crashes resulted in more than 14,500 injuries and 174 fatalities in Kentucky during 2012.

These numbers account for 49 percent of the total crashes and 23 percent of the total fatal crashes occurring on Kentucky roadways last year.