Kentucky has protections in place that prevent some drivers from touching their cellphones while driving, but many safety advocates and state lawmakers believe that more must happen to protect the motoring public. Research shows that Kentucky sees more than its fair share of distracted driving-related car wrecks, injuries and fatalities, which raises important questions about what the state should do to better protect its citizens and visitors.
According to WYMT, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study revealed that Kentucky ranked fourth in the nation in terms of distracted driving fatalities over a recent five-year period. Between 2013 and 2017, the state saw nearly 168 distracted driving deaths each year, which notably exceeded national averages.
In many cases, people who hear the words “distracted driving” automatically assume that it refers to in-vehicle cellphone use, such as texting or talking on a handheld phone. In actuality, though, distracted driving refers to anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the task at hand, so eating, conversing with other passengers and using in-vehicle navigation systems could all potentially qualify. Some forms of distracted driving, however, such as texting behind the wheel, are especially hazardous because they divert a motorist’s cognitive, manual and visual attention away from the roadway.
Also troubling is the fact that, while most drivers contend that driving while distracted is undeniably dangerous, many of them also refuse to recognize how their own actions are threatening the safety of others on the nation’s roadways. In other words, many people who believe wholeheartedly that distracted driving is dangerous continue to contribute to the problem, anyway.
Motorists may be able to reduce their risk of involvement in a distracted driving crash to some extent simply by abstaining from driving distracted. However, the high number of Kentucky drivers who continue to drive negligently means that all motorists must remain vigilant at all times to lessen the chances of a distracted driving-related wreck, injury or death.