Distracted driving is any activity that potentially distracts from driving and increases the risk of crashing. While all distractions can endanger drivers’ safety, texting is the most alarming because it involves all three types of distraction:
- visual – taking your eyes off the road
- manual – taking your hands off the wheel
- cognitive – taking your mind off what you’re doing.
Other distracting activities include:
- using a cell phone
- eating and drinking
- talking to passengers
- reading — including maps
- using a PDA or navigation system
- watching a video
- changing the radio station, CD, or Mp3 player.
Research on distracted driving reveals some surprising facts:
- In 2008, about 20 percent of all crashes involved some type of distraction. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – NHTSA).
- Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million were injured. (NHTSA)
- Inexperienced drivers younger than 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
- Using a cell phone while driving, whether it’s hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)
Learn more at http://www.distraction.gov/.