Friday, August 19, 2011

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a growing problem throughout the country. "Distraction" is a specific type of inattention that occurs when drivers divert their attention from the driving task to focus on some other activity instead. Here are just a few examples of items in our vehicles that can distract our attention away from the road; cell phones, stereos/CD players, M3 players, satellite radio and GPS devices.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

• In 2009, 5,474 people were killed on U.S. roadways and an estimated 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving.
• Of those people killed, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction.
• Of those injured, 24,000 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction.
• 16% of fatal accidents in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving.
• 20% of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving.
• Of the drivers involved in fatal crashes who were reportedly distracted, the 30 to 39 year-olds had the highest proportion of cell phone involvement.

Safety experts recommend the following tips to help prevent you from becoming a distracted driver:

1. Don't use your cell phone - even hands free ones
When talking on your cell phone, your risk of an accident quadruples.

2. Listen to - don't watch- GPS devices

3. Adjust volume controls and temperature settings before taking to the road

4. Buckle-up or cage your pet
You won't be as tempted to pet or feed them

5. While traveling, take regular breaks
One at least every two hours

6. Pull off of the roadway if you want to eat or drink