The Dangers of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is becoming an epidemic on our roadways. The use of electronics in the vehicle is at an all-time high due to the majority of drivers owning smartphones, GPS’s, video players, etc.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety.
Examples of distracted behaviors:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or IPhone
Because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.
Understanding the Distracted Brain
There are 3 main types of distraction:
- Visual – taking your eyes off the road
- Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive – taking your mind off what you are doing
Human brains are unable to effectively perform two cognitively complex tasks at the same time, such as driving and talking on a cell phone. Drivers talking on cell phones can fail to see up to 50% of the information in their driving environment. Research has shown that drivers distracted by cell phone conversations also have slower reaction times. Drivers are less likely to see:
- Exits, red lights, and stop signs
- Navigational signs
- Other driver’s actions
- Pedestrians and cyclists
What We Know
- Drivers using cell phones are four times as likely to be in a crash. About 1 out of every 4 motor vehicle crashes involves cell phone use.
- National Safety Council estimates that 26% of crashes involve talking on hand-held and hands-free cell phones.
- Hands-free is not risk-free. Hands-free phones do not eliminate cognitive distraction.
- Sending text or email messages while driving draws a driver’s eyes, mind, and hands away from the road.
- Drivers texting are 8 to 23 times as likely to be involved in a crash.
- Driving distracted is as dangerous as driving intoxicated.
- Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activated associated with driving by 37%.
Take Action Against Distraction
- Pay attention. Avoid distractions like texting, talking on the phone, or playing games while driving.
- Pull over and park in a safe location if a call or text is absolutely necessary.
- Change your voicemail greeting to inform callers you are on the road and will return their call when you can do so safely.
- Install an app that blocks text messages, phone calls and other alerts when driving.
- Discourage others from calling or texting you while you’re driving.
- Have passengers manage your phone for you.
- Prepare before you drive. Review maps, adjust your radio, eat, and make any phone calls needed before you drive.
Just Drive: Take Action Against Distraction
A free one hour class delivered by safety experts available to businesses and organizations in the Denver Metro area as part of employee safety and wellness programs.
Impact Teen Drivers
A free one hour class delivered by safety experts available to schools, parent meetings, clubs, churches, etc. to raise awareness of the dangers of reckless and distracted driving and graduated driver license laws.