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Daydreaming may cause more accidents than cellphones

Distracted driving continues to cause a significant number of car accidents in Ohio every year. Many distracted driving campaigns have focused on the dangers of cellphone use behind the wheel but there are several other dangerous behaviors that cause car accidents that are not discussed often enough.

A new study may change that after reporting that cellphone use was the second most common type of distraction in U.S. car accidents caused by distracted driving. If cellphone use is not the most common distraction, what is? The study found that daydreaming has become the most common type of distraction and the dangerous behavior can lead to serious and fatal car accidents.

The study used data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System to analyze the reasons cited for fatal car accidents in the U.S. from the past two years collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Researchers also reviewed police reports that cited distracted driving as the main cause to see what specific types of distracted driving behaviors contributed to the most car accidents.

Distracted driving is defined as any behavior that takes a driver's attention away from driving. The study reported the top ten most common types of distracted driving, listed below:

  • Smoking
  • Moving objects inside vehicle
  • Adjusting mirrors or seat
  • Changing radio or A/C, heating
  • Eating or drinking
  • Reaching or using a device like MP3 player or headphones
  • Talking or looking at other passengers
  • Looking at something outside of car
  • Using cellphone
  • Daydreaming

The researchers did note that cellphone use may still be the most common type of distracted driving, but many drivers may not cite cellphone use as the reason for their car accident as it may be illegal in their state. Regardless of the most common type of distracted driving behavior, all drivers need to be aware of the impact distractions can have on their driving and how they contribute to car accidents.

Source: The Car Connection, "Distracted Drivers Cause 10% of Fatal Accidents, But Are Phones To Blame?" Richard Read, April 8, 2013

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