Drivers in Hawaii have a lot going on besides just operating their vehicles. They are changing radio stations, eating, reaching for something in the back seat, laughing with their passengers, using the navigation system and talking on the phone. While these may seem innocent, all of these activities cause drivers to be distracted, which can lead to serious, and even fatal, accidents. To help improve driving safety, programs and laws are being introduced in states all over the country.
According to the CDC, more than 1,000 people are injured and nine are killed by a distracted driver on a daily basis. Although distracted driving affects drivers of all ages, teenagers are the ones involved in the most fatal accidents. Many of these accidents are caused due to texting, which is also related to other high-risk behaviors such as drinking and driving as well as driving without a seatbelt.
As a result there have been multiple laws passed on both the federal and state levels. These include texting bans, bans of driving with a cell phone for government employees, hand-held phone use ban and graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs for teenagers.
The National Safety Council describes how GDL helps reduce crash risk by 20 to 40%. There are three stages to licensure, easing teenagers into full licensure by increasing time and practice behind the wheel. The first stage is the learner's permit followed by an intermediate license and then a full license. During the intermediate period there are restrictions regarding passengers under a certain age, nighttime driving and cell phone use. The GDL and active parent involvement can make a big difference on the road.