(Idaho State Police Press Release, December 14, 2022)
“Distracted and inattentive driving is a leading cause of crashes in the United States and Idaho. The economic and human costs of these crashes take a major toll on families, friends, and our communities,” says Patrol Lieutenant Robert Rausch in District 4. “Among the most observed instances of distracted driving are the use of cellular devices, which takes attention away from the task of driving. Unfortunately, there are often tragic consequences. Through this weekend, troopers will pay extra attention to these violations to help keep the Holiday Season safer for travelers. For everyone’s sake, do the right thing and follow the law. Put down the phone and focus full attention on driving safely.”
Throughout Idaho, troopers are looking for distracted drivers. Idaho Transportation Department statistics indicate that Idaho had 5,003 distracted driving crashes, including 30 fatalities and 284 serious injuries, in 2021. The National Safety Council found the percentage of drivers manipulating hand-held electronic devices increased by 127% from 2012 to 2021.
Distracted driving is defined as specific inattention that occurs when drivers divert their attention from driving to focus on another activity. The NHTSA reports that phones are the most frequent and dangerous form of distraction. Still, other activities like operating electronic devices, texting, emailing, searching for directions, or more conventional disruptions like interacting with passengers and eating are also distractions. A report from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) indicates that “Nearly 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event.”
Idaho State Police encourages drivers to put down distractions and focus on driving as our winter roads may be dangerous.