Vehicles are safer than ever before yet traffic fatalities have increased in the United States. Why? One main reason is that drivers have not gotten safer behind the wheel. Drivers are at fault for roughly 97 percent of all fatal accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The finding that human errors contribute to many of these crashes is an ongoing safety issue, with distracted driving still being one of the most common causes of deaths. NHTSA data shows that nine percent of all fatal crashes in the U.S. are caused by distracted driving. Distracted driving includes a variety of unsafe behaviors, including cellphone use, GPS use, changing vehicle settings, talking to passengers and anything that takes away the driver’s focus on the road.

Cellphone use still a factor in many distracted driving accidents

Drivers know that cellphone use is one of the most dangerous and common types of distracted driving. Despite the risks, drivers of all ages continue to use cellphones behind the wheel. Recent data shows that some age groups are more likely to use cellphones while driving. Drivers between the ages of 15 and 19 are most likely to use a cellphone, followed by drivers between ages 20 – 29, 40 – 49 and 30 – 39.

Distracted driving remains a significant safety problem that many states, including Connecticut, have failed to address. Connecticut law does prohibit drivers from using hand-held cellphones, which means it is illegal for drivers to talk or text on a hand-held cellphone. Drivers can still use hands-free devices.

What can drivers do to prevent distractions?

Awareness of the dangers of distracted driving is important, but motorists also need to take steps to prevent distractions behind the wheel to keep everyone safe. What can drivers do to prevent distractions? Here are some tips to follow the next time you are behind the wheel:

  • Turn your cellphone off or out of reach
  • Find a safe spot to stop driving if you must use your cellphone
  • Set your radio, GPS and other vehicle settings before you start driving
  • Avoid turning around to look at passengers in the backseat
  • Avoid eating or drinking while driving

In addition to these tips, it is important to limit any additional distractions you may encounter while driving. It is up to all motorists to take precautions before they start driving and while on the road to reduce distractions and hopefully the risk of getting into an accident.