April is distracted driving awareness month! Distracted driving is the leading cause to most vehicle involved accidents. Distracted driving is any activity that takes a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. There are three main types of distraction: Manual – taking your hands off the wheel, Visual – taking your eyes off the road, and Cognitive – taking your mind off driving. (Source: zeroinwisconsin.gov) It only takes one of these distractions to cause an accident.
Most Common Distraction
Cell phone usage is the most common distraction to a driver, whether it be going on social media, checking email, texting, talking, or using the handsfree device. Each of these cell phone activities causes one or all of the three types of distractions listed above. A typical distraction requires the driver to take their attention off driving for less than 5 seconds. At highway speeds, that could mean traveling the length of a football field without paying attention. That’s scary!
The National Safety Council (NSC) has a campaign called Just Drive. This campaign is designed to encourage motorists to avoid distractions while driving, especially cell phone use, in order to keep full attention on the road. That means drivers don’t text, don’t call, don’t email, just drive, that’s it.
Research done by NSC shows the number of motor-vehicle deaths in 2016 has an estimated total of 40,200, up 6% from 2015 and the first time the annual fatality total has exceeded 40,000 since 2007. That is very scary!
Take the Pledge
NSC has a pledge found here: www.nsc.org that you can enter your name into to be an attentive driver. You pledge not to have a phone conversation, use voice-to-text, go on social media, check/send email, take selfies or video, call or message someone else when they are driving, and input GPS destination while driving.