The following information can be found at http://www.distraction.gov/. Whether you drive a company vehicle, commute to and from work or just jot around Santa Rosa, this issue is very important. Driving while distracted has become a dangerous practice Nationally as well as Locally.
What Is Distracted Driving?
There are three 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’re doing
Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing.
While all distractions can endanger drivers’ safety, texting is the most alarming because it involves all three types of distraction.
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.
Did You Know?
Research on distracted driving reveals some surprising facts:
• 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA).
• Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashed, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction (18% of fatalities in distraction-related crashes). (NHTSA)
• In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving. (FARS and GES)
• The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group – 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. (NHTSA)
• 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 use 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)
Driver Distraction Facts and Figures
Important information regarding driver distraction comes from records of traffic fatalities and injuries collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Driver distraction could present a serious and potentially deadly danger. In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving. Distracted driving comes in various forms, such as cell phone use, texting while driving, eating, drinking, talking with passengers, as well as using in-vehicle technologies and portable electronic devices.
There are other less obvious forms of distractions including daydreaming or dealing with strong emotions.
While these numbers are significant, they may not state the true size of the problem, since the identification of distraction and its role in a crash can be very difficult to determine using only police-reported data. New data sources are available to provide more details on the type and presence of driver distraction.
All of this comes down to a conscious effort by the motorist to PUT IT DOWN!. You have heard the saying Just Do It! Well seriously, Just Put It Down & Drive. IT WILL SAVE LIVES!