The dangers that come with distracted driving are common knowledge.
“The consequences to that phone call may not only be your life, it could be someone else’s life. It affects so many people,” said Pat McCarty, Region 5 Governors Highway Safety coordinator.
But so many drivers do it anyway.
“They are almost as much of a roadway hazard as people speeding or even DUI,” McCarty said.
It’s hard for some to believe that distracted driving can be almost as dangerous as drunk driving, but when you are not paying attention behind the wheel, even a few seconds can cause major damage and in some cases, fatalities.
According to the National Safety Council, from 2016 to 2017 West Virginia experienced a 13 percent increase in fatalities resulting from distracted driving.
Plus experts said distracted driving accidents are underreported because they are hard to prove and not all drivers admit to doing it.
“Think that they can do it and that they can pay attention to their driving and while they’re doing it. They don’t realize that it takes so many skills just to text. You have to think about you’re texting, and what you’re saying and what you’re doing as you’re doing it,” McCarty said.
Time and time again multitasking behind the wheel has been proven not to work. But so many give in.
Which is why industry professionals suggest taking those distractions away.
“The alternative option to texting and driving, pulling off to the side of the road. Having someone do that texting for you. Limiting every distraction you possibly can while you’re on the road and just focusing on driving,” said Jim Garrity, AAA East Coast spokesperson.
Most phones have ‘do not disturb’ features or users can download driving apps that silence notifications and other distractions while behind the wheel.