April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

by Tina Jaycox

The National Safety Council observes April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Distracted driving is the act of driving while engaged in other activities—such as looking after children, texting, talking on the phone or to a passenger, watching videos, eating, rubbernecking or reading. These activities take the driver’s attention away from the road. Technology allows us to make phone calls, dictate texts or emails and update social media while driving – all actions that are proven to increase crash risk. Just one second of your attention is all takes to change a life forever. Unfortunately, hands-free devices offer a false sense of security when driving. It’s important to remember that hands-free doesn’t mean risk-free. In order to stay safe, you need your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on driving.

Consider this:

• Up to 94% of all car crashes are caused by driver error.

• Drivers looking out the windshield can miss seeing up to 50% of what’s around them when talking on any kind of cell phone.

• The activity in the area of the brain that processes moving images decreases by up to 1/3 when listening to talking on the phone.

• Other activities take thought and are hard to do while on a call, like reading a book. You can’t do either well if you’re doing them at the same time, and the consequences are much greater than needing to reread a page.