Saturday, February 14, 2015

Driving while Distracted !!

I remember when I was learning how to drive and my mother or father was sitting in the passenger seat next to me and I was given the ground rules.  These ground rules did not only apply for that day during the driving lesson, but the expectation was that the rules applied until I was considered an experienced driver.  The rules:

* No friends in the vehicle at any time.
* No radio or music.
* No food or drink.

You see, I learned how to drive before the majority of technology related driving distractions were invented or at least before they were mainstream enough for my family to afford them.  At one time, cell phones (or car phones and then the bag phones that followed) were considered a luxury.  And they were costly, not only to purchase, but also to maintain due to the expensive monthly service and use fees.

 photo from

Distracted driving is defined as any activity that could divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving.  All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Facts and Statistics.  Available from http://www.distraction .gov/get-the-facts/facts-and-statistics.html.  Accessed February 2, 2015).  These distractions include:
  • Texting.
  • Using a cell phone or smartphone.
  • Eating and drinking.
  • Talking to passengers.
  • Grooming.
  • Reading, including maps.
  • Using a navigation system.
  • Watching a video.
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player.
 As we have evolved into a technologically driven society,  we have been given amazing tools to enrich our worlds.  We can easily navigate ourselves to other locations by GPS (no need to remember how to fold a map so it will fit back in the glove compartment), we can obtain the hours that a store is open by pulling up their website on our smartphone (no more 555-1212 for directory assistance needed), and we can watch a video about a product so we can make an informed decision on our purchases.

Amazing advances, yet these advances create another world of distracted driving for us.

Each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Facts and Statistics.  Available from Accessed February 2, 2015).

What is being done about this?  Many states are enacting laws, such as banning texting while driving, or using graduated driver licensing systems for teen drivers ( Accessed February 14, 2015).  Clear studies are not available on the impact that these laws and requirements have had on decreasing incidents involving distracted driving yet.

Remember, your life is too valuable !!  The text will be there when you have a chance to pull over and safely read it !!

1 comment:

  1. It makes me so mad that we have to pass laws against things like texting/yakking while driving. Why is this not common sense? But, as someone noted, "Common sense ain't common."