MISSION The mission of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an operating administration of the Department of Transportation (DOT), is to save lives, prevent injuries and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes, through education, research, safety standards and enforcement
To accomplish this, NHTSA awards grants to state and local governments, not-for-profit organizations, and other entities in support of motor vehicles and road traffic safety initiatives.PURPOSE The purpose of this project is to demonstrate countermeasures to distracted driving and walking by Hispanic youth.
The demonstration project seeks to develop a student led, community approach towards reducing distracted driving and walking by building awareness within the teen community to the harm of such risky traffic safety behaviors.
The project seeks to develop and demonstrate effective countermeasures that, if successful, could be adopted by States and communities to reduce distracted driving and walking among Hispanic youth.
BACKGROUND Distracted driving is a serious traffic safety problem in the United States.
In 2019, there were 3,142 people killed and an estimated additional 424,000 people injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
Recent data shows that distracted driving also impacts pedestrians and other nonoccupants.
In 2021, 566 pedestrians and nonoccupants (bicyclists and others) were killed by distracted drivers (NHTSA, April 2021).
Distracted driving affects young people (15-20 years old) disproportionately.
Young drivers accounted for 8. 5 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in 202 0. However, young drivers were only 5. 1 percent of all licensed drivers in 2020 (NHTSA, 2022).Additionally, according to the National Safety Council (2017), pedestrian incidents are also increasing, with nearly 6,000 pedestrian fatalities in 201 7. Distracted walking occurs when someone travels on foot without paying attention to their surroundings (Burke, 2018).
Additional research conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide, estimates that approximately 17% of middle school students and 27% of high school students cross the street while distracted by a technological device (Safe Kids Worldwide, 2016).
This distracted walking problem is primarily caused by youth cell phone use, with 44% of youth wearing headphones, 31% texting, 18% talking on the phone, and 7% doing a combination of the three (Mackey, 2016).
In 2020, NHTSA found that sixteen percent of the children 14 and younger killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians (NHTSA, 2022).According to an AT&T, It Can Wait research survey (2016), U. S. Hispanics are more likely to drive distracted while using a smartphone when compared to the general population.
AT&T found that 83% of Hispanics admit to using their smartphones behind the wheel, as compared to 71% of all American drivers.
Half of the Latinos surveyed admitted to using their smartphones to communicate through social media while driving.
Survey results found that more than 28% of Latinos snap selfies or take photos while driving and nearly 7 in 10 text behind the wheel while driving.
While data related to Hispanic youth distracted driving and walking is not currently available, the increased prevalence of these unsafe behaviors among Hispanics suggests NHTSA develop programs that focus on distracted driving and walking among Hispanics.