Driving is an activity that puts travelers’ lives on the line. The risk is noteworthy, as motor vehicle collisions are one of the top causes of death and severe injury among most age groups in the United States. Even small mistakes can have catastrophic consequences in heavy traffic and when road conditions aren’t optimal.
Unfortunately, many people fall victim to distractions while driving. Even though they should keep their focus entirely on the task at hand, they can’t seem to help but answer the phone or pick up a device in their hands when they get a notification. Some people eat or groom themselves at the wheel, while others simply daydream instead of focusing on traffic conditions. The number of distracted driving crashes has increased in recent years, and distracted drivers seem to be everywhere. Is the increase enough to constitute an epidemic?
Kentucky has some of the worst rates of distracted driving
An epidemic is a widespread outbreak of an illness, and it is an apt description of the surge in distracted driving. Motorists seem infected with an insatiable need to remain connected at all times, and their actions can spread out and impact countless others.
According to an analysis of collisions that occurred over two years, Kentucky is actually one of the worst states in the country that comes to distracted driving. The state sees far more distracted driving deaths than most other states in the country. Overall, there were 2.2 deaths caused by distracted driving in Kentucky per billion miles traveled in 2020 and 2021, with a total of 211 lives lost. By comparison, Ohio, which ranked 40th on the list, with only 0.5 reported distracted driving deaths per billion miles traveled, saw 108 deaths in the same two years.
What does this mean for modern drivers?
Those on the road in Kentucky or Ohio may benefit from having an awareness of their statistical risk. When people know that distraction is such a major issue in Kentucky, they may be more diligent in their own efforts to avoid any distracting activities while driving or to give those who seem distracted at the wheel more space on the road.
Unfortunately, it does seem as though Kentucky is experiencing an epidemic of unsafe driving habits, which means people’s crash risk is higher than it is normally. Recognizing that risk can help people to better minimize their chances of causing a car wreck by engaging in safe, defensive driving habits.