There are plenty of facts, figures and details about distracted driving, but let’s get the plain and simple ones on the table first:
- 80 percent of vehicle crashes involve some sort of driver inattention.
- Up to 6000 people nationwide are killed in crashes where driver distractions are involved.
- Talking on a cell phone or texting is the number one source of driver distractions.
- Texting takes your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds, far enough to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph. Most crashes happen with less than 3 seconds reaction time.
- The act of talking on a cell phone, even hands free, can give you “inattention blindness,” where your brain isn’t seeing what’s right in front of you. You aren’t even aware that you are driving impaired. If you think you can handle both driving and talking on a cell phone or texting, you are kidding yourself and putting us all at risk.
Distracted driving is anything that takes your eyes or mind off the road or your hands off the steering wheel – especially texting and cell phone use, whether hands-free or handheld. Who’s doing it? Most of us. It has been estimated that, at any one time, over 10 percent of drivers are using a mobile device.
A ticket for $159 for texting or talking on a cell phone is a major distraction to your wallet.
What can you do? Most important, obey the law. It’s there for a reason. Also, do your best to eliminate distractions:
- Never text and drive
- Turn off your phone when you get behind the wheel
- Don’t text or call someone when you know they are likely to be driving
- Make a pact with your family, spouse, and caregivers never to use the phone with kids in the car.
- No eating or drinking while driving
- Don’t program your GPS, MP3 player or other devices while driving
- Pull over and stop to read maps.
- No grooming
- No reading
- No watching videos
- Try not to get too involved with passengers
- If something falls to the floor, pull over before trying to reach it.
Our thanks to the California Office of Traffic Safety.