Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on America's roadways. In 2010 alone, over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes –Distraction.gov.
All cell phone use – including the use of hand-held and hands-free mobile devices – while driving, is dangerous. Distracted driving is described as any activity that diverts the driver’s attention from the road.
With the world going mobile, new cell phones are both a blessing and a curse. Apps that ring and ding to notify of new texts, Tweets and Facebook comments make it incredibly tempting for drivers to look at their phones when they need to be focusing on the road.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines the three types of distraction:
- Visual—taking your eyes off the road;
- Manual—taking your hands off the wheel; and
- Cognitive—taking your mind off what you are doing.
Below are distracted driving safety tips:
As mentioned above, rings and dings are distracting, which is why you should get in the habit of silencing your mobile device before you begin driving. As the old adage goes, “Silence is golden.” In fact, putting your phone out of reach all together is a good idea.
Plan ahead – before you begin driving, not during, is the time to program your GPS device or change the CD..
Avoid engaging in activities that take your eyes off the road such as, but not limited to, eating, adjusting the radio, applying makeup and even talking with other occupants in the vehicle.
Many distracted driving campaigns are focused on teen drivers but adults can be just as guilty. Parents need to set an example and silence or turn off their mobile device upon driving.
Distracted driving apps:
A new app, called DriveScribe, turns your mobile device into a “driving coach.” This app is aimed mainly at new drivers and monitors speed, blocks texts and more while the vehicle is moving, writes Mashable.
Text No More – is a free app intended to stop texting while driving. It works by suppressing all notifications while the vehicle is in motion and offers incentives to teen drivers who use the program. You can read more about how it works on their website.
Last year, T-Mobile announced an optional new service that would automatically disable alerts and send all calls to voicemail if a cell phone is in a moving car. And other technology companies are joining the crowd. In fact, expect more apps to become available in the coming months as technology increases with awareness.
Distracted driving stats:
39 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam ban text messaging for all drivers. In New York, specifically, a primary law bans handhelds for all drivers as well as texting for drivers. A state list, outlining specific state laws, can be viewed here.
April is National Distracted Driving Month, but don’t wait until April to find out how you can make a difference. Visit EnDD.org for more information. Also visit 60forSafety.org for more resources and to find out how you can get involved.