May 09, 2012 / by Alisa Hafen / No Comments

We’ve all heard about it: distracted driving. Driving while being distracted has become a huge problem and safety risk for all motorists.

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 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.

Other distracting activities include:
· Using a cell phone
· Eating and drinking
· Talking to passengers
· Grooming
· Reading, including maps
· Using a PDA or navigation system
· Watching a video
· Changing the radio station, CD, or Mp3 player.

Alarming Statistics about Distracted Driving
• In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in crashes involving driver distraction, and an estimated 448,000 were injured. (
• 16% of fatal crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving
• 20% of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving
• In the month of June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the US, up nearly 50% from June 2009.
• Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
• Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.

Many states law prohibits sending or reading electronic communications (text messages) while driving and also prohibits the use of wireless/cell phones in construction/road maintenance zones and school zones.

Local municipalities may govern whether wireless/cell phone use is permitted, regardless of the location or the driver’s age. If you do use a wireless/cell phone, take the following precautions:

• Always assess traffic conditions before calling.
• Be familiar with the phone’s keypad — use speed dial if possible.
• Place calls when stopped, or have a passenger dial.
• Make sure the phone is within easy reach.
• Use a speaker phone/hands-free device.
• Avoid intense, emotional or complicated conversations.
• Avoid talking on the phone in congested traffic or bad weather.
• Pull off the road to dial or complete a conversation.

Teen drivers are more likely than other age groups to be involved in a fatal crash where distraction is reported. In 2009, 16% of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were reported to have been distracted.

The younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. Parents, it’s up to YOU to set a good example for your teen. Show them what safe driving looks like, and they will follow your lead!

YOUR teen needs to be under YOUR influence when it comes to distracted driving! Make sure your teen knows that you’ve got a “zero tolerance policy” when it comes to distracted driving. Young, inexperienced drivers especially need to keep their eyes – and attention – on the road.

Keep YOUR teen under YOUR influence
when they’re learning to drive!