With school in session and students on the road more frequently, there has never been a better time to address the issue of distracted driving. Anything that takes attention away from driving can be a distraction. The three main types of distraction are: visual (taking your eyes off the road); manual (taking your hands off the wheel); and cognitive (taking your mind off the task of driving). Sending a text message, talking on a cell phone, putting on makeup, using a navigation system, and eating while driving are a few examples of distracted driving. Any of these distractions can endanger the driver and others. Texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for about five seconds, long enough to travel the length of a football field while driving 55 mph.
According to a March 2017 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publication, there were 3,477 people killed in 2015 in crashes involving a distracted driver. In that same year, 391,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
Every life is valuable. Start, or continue, the talk. Remind your friends and family to be safe drivers. Turn off electronic devices. Place them in the back seat or the trunk to avoid temptation. Come home alive and help ensure others come home alive and uninjured as well. Drive smart. Drive safe.