We’ve all been warned about the dangers of using our mobile phones while driving. But a new study claims that it’s even more dangerous to daydream behind the wheel.
In fact, new research by the Erie Insurance Group says it’s actually five times as dangerous to daydream while driving than texting or talking on your phone.
“The results were disturbing,” Erie Senior Vice President Doug Smith, told NBC News.
According to Erie’s findings some 62 percent of all distracted driving accidents in the U.S. each year that resulted in fatalities were blamed on the seemingly innocuous act of being “lost in thought.” By comparison, only 12 percent of distracted driving fatalities resulted from driving while using mobile phones.
To reach those numbers, Erie sifted through the data on the reported 65,000 fatal car accidents that take place in 2012 and 2011. About 10 percent of those deaths fell into the distracted driving column.
On April 5, four cars were involved in a Clovis, CA accident that was blamed on distracted driving. "This is a perfect example of how important it is to pay attention when you're driving," Sgt. Jim Koch of the Clovis Police Department told local ABC affiliate KFSN. "Distracted driving can cause all kinds of injuries and damage."
"Distracted driving is any activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off your primary task of driving safely," Smith told NBC. "We looked at what law enforcement officers across the country reported when they filled out reports on fatal crashes and the results were disturbing. We hope the data will encourage people to avoid these high-risk behaviors that needlessly increase their risk of being involved in a fatal crash."
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