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You may be asking, "What is distracted driving?" Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a motorist engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving. Stressful jobs, busy lifestyles and technology are just a few of the reasons why individuals may engage in distracted driving activities.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that in 2011, 3,331 people died in crashes linked to driver distraction and hundreds of thousands more people suffered a distracted driving-related injury. In fact, 17 percent of all crashes where someone was injured involved driver distraction.
According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (2013), the leading cause of worker fatality in Indiana is highway vehicle crashes.
Main Types of Driver Distraction
There are primarily three types of distracted driving.
It is important to note that all three types of distraction don't have to happen for a driver to be dangerously distracted.
Distracted Driving Activities
There are many activities that are likely to distract someone from driving. Common distractions that lead to crashes include:
Texting While Driving
While all distracted driving is dangerous, texting is the most alarming because It involves all three types of distraction at the same time.
Think about it:
How big is the problem?
In just one month, June 2011, Americans sent over a billion texts. How many times have you sent or read one while driving? How many times have you seen a friend send or read one?
Putting it in Context
People who text while driving are 23 times more likely to crash!
Studies have found that your reaction time will be about 30 percent worse if you're trying to text and drive and you'll spend an average of 10 percent of your time out of your lane.
There are now more crashes related to texting and driving than drinking and driving.
When you look down to send or read a text while you drive, you take your eyes off the road for an average of almost five seconds. Doesn't seem very long, does it? How about this - If you're driving 55 MPH you just traveled the length of a football field! You wouldn't close your eyes and run across a busy street. Why would you do the same thing by looking down at your phone?
Regardless of what you may think, no one is "good" at texting and driving. Consider this: When asked, the vast majority of people who admit to texting and driving claim to be able to do it safely. However, when tested on a simulator that uses everyday hazards (people crossing the road, animals running across the road, traffic suddenly stopping) almost no one can do it without crashing if texting at the same time. Everyone thinks "but, i'm the exception!" Rest assured, you are not.
Finally, not only is texting or reading messages while driving dangerous, it is against the law.
Effective July 1, 2011: It is unlawful to type, transmit, or read e-mail or text messages on a communication device while driving in Indiana. Violators may face fines of up to $500.
Texting and driving is dangerous for you, your passengers and those around you. If that isn't enough, it's expensive, ilegal and everyone is bad at it. Why would you even want to?
For more information about texting while driving or distracted driving, please visit DISTRACTION.GOV.
Helpful links and resources may be found by clicking on the links below