Distracted Driving Danger

By August 5, 2016Blog, Prevent injury, Safety Tips

Distracted Driving Danger

Distracted driving danger is on a deadly rise.

We know for a fact that our brains have difficulty juggling multiple cognitive tasks that demand our attention.    “Juggling multiple cognitive tasks” translates to “You can’t drive and also focus on a voice/text call”.

Cognitive tasks are those needing you to think and process.   For instance you CAN chew gum while performing the cognitive task  of driving because you don’t have to think to chew gum.

It is a myth that “Drivers can Multitask”.   The National Safety Council (NSC) has compiled a massive amount of scientific studies about the brain’s capability, about distracted driving, about perception and reaction times when using a cell phone – even a hands-free situation!

At issue is this statement from the NSC, “Vision is the most important sense we use for safe driving. It’s the source of the majority of information when driving. Yet, drivers using hands-free and handheld cell phones have a tendency to “look at” but not “see” objects. Estimates indicate drivers using cell phones look at but fail to see up to 50 percent of the information in their driving environment.”

WHERE DRIVERS LOOKED

distracted driving danger

Using a hands-free cell phone

distracted driving danger

Not using a hands-free cell phone

 

 

 

 

 

 

Texting versus Talking

Although texting is clearly a serious distraction, NSC data show drivers talking on cell phones are involved in more crashes.

Driving while talking on cell phones – handheld and hands-free – increases risk of injury and property damage crashes fourfold.

Distracted Driving Danger, Once Upon a Time

The two leading factors of car crashes for many years was

1) driving inebriated and

2) speeding.   Distracted driving has definitely become number 3) !

Since 1994, which covers the explosion of cell phone users, there have been 737,000 lives lost to motor vehicle crashes.   Seven hundred thirty seven thousand lives.   737,000 lives.

A study done by the Department of Psychology at the University of Utah entitled “A Comparison of the Cell-Phone Driver and the Drunk Driver” stated these findings, “We used a high-fidelity driving simulator to compare the performance of cell-phone drivers with drivers who were legally intoxicated from ethanol….When controlling for driving difficulty and time on task, cell-phone drivers exhibited greater impairment than intoxicated drivers.”

Football Field

Distraction.gov, the official US Government website for distracted driving danger, overflowing with information about this issue, is a wonderful library to check out.

One of their statements is: “Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.”

DOUBLE Distracted Driving Danger

So there are drivers texting or talking on their cell phones?

Now add how many, many pedestrians, every age, are walking along in a haze as they text, talk or play video games.   They are crossing streets without looking.   They are moving around parking lots, oblivious to cars also moving around the lot, as a few examples.

Here’s a too-common scenario:   a distracted driver strikes a distracted pedestrian.

And it’s growing.

Let’s All Learn About This

The NSC offers excellent online training classes about issues such as:   Defensive Driving, Distracted Driving, Motorcycle Safety, Alive at 25, and more.

A very nice feature is that you can take a free short demo in advance of the class to see if it’s a fit for you.

When you think about it, you are hurtling along in a massive frame of steel – and so is everyone else.   Let’s not collide with each other – or pedestrians – or motorcycles.   Everyone, please, let’s do nothing but drive.  .

Let’s all stay alive!   It’s a community commitment.

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Jean Lesmeister, 16 year Babysitting CPR, Adult CPR & First Aid Instructor

American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI)

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