Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention away from the primary task of driving. This is a growing problem. There are three types of distractions. The traffic safety experts classify them as: Manual, Visual and Cognitive. (enddd.org)
- Manual distractions are those where you move your hands from the wheel.
- Visual distractions are those where you focus your eyes away from the road.
- Cognitive distraction is when your mind wanders away from the task of driving
Newer vehicles produced today have touch screens that control most of your vehicle functions thus requiring you to take your eyes off the road. Unlike your analog buttons and dials, touch screens do not offer a tactile touch. So whether you are using your touch screen in your vehicle while driving, texting, or even talking on your phone, you are spending less attention to driving. You are involving all three types of distractions to perform these tasks.
Did you know that drivers are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol? A more startling statistic is cell phone users are 5.36 times more likely to get into an accident than undistracted drivers.(University of Utah). So the bottom line is, text messaging increases the risk of a crash or near-crash by 23 times. (Virginia Technical Transportation Institute, USDOT). When you are involve in distracted driving while driving at 55 mph, you only need to take your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, and in that short time, you’ve covered the length of a football field (NHTSA).
In fact, 10% of fatal crashes and 15% of injury crashes in 2015 were distraction-affected. These are serious problems. In 2015, there were 3,477 people killed and an estimated additional 391,000 injured in crashes involving distracted drivers (NHTSA). The fatal crash rate for teens is 3 times greater than for drivers age 20 and over (IIHS). Driver distraction is responsible for more than 58% of teen crashes. (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety)
We all know that distracted driving is dangerous and illegal, yet 36% of drivers admit to engaging in this dangerous and illegal activity (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety).
Avoid distracted driving. Avoid text messaging or taking your hands off your steering wheel to use your mobile phone. It is not worth risking your life or the lives of others by causing an accident. Focus on your driving and pay attention to your surroundings. That call or text can wait!