Have you ever asked yourself, “Am I distracted when I drive?” According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, over 84% of drivers recognize the danger from cell phone distractions and find it “unacceptable” that drivers text or send an email while driving, but 35% of those same people admit to having read or sent a text message or email while driving. Sometimes we get so used to checking our devices we almost do it involuntarily. Be careful because young eyes are watching your every move especially in the car.
Your children notice when or if you put on your seatbelt. They notice if you apply makeup while you’re driving, surf the radio station, or text in the driver’s seat. Be vigilant and set a positive example for them so that when they get in the car without you, they make good choices behind the wheel.
Did you know that sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough for your car to cover the distance of a football field while driving at 55 mph? Everyone has a cell phone. We use it to check the time, calculate the tip at restaurant, communicate, track our steps and more. All these things are great, but not when you are operating a motor vehicle. The University of Utah reports that people are as impaired when they drive and talk on a cell phone as they are when they drive intoxicated at the legal blood-alcohol limit of 0.08%. Another study out of the University of Utah states that cell phone users are over 5 times more likely to get into an accident than undistracted drivers.
While using your phone while driving is distracting, it’s not the only thing that can take your eyes off the road. In fact, distracted driving is just that, anything that takes your focus away from the road. The Georgia Department of Highway Safety says there are three types of distractions: Visual, Manual, and Cognitive.
-Using your phone
-Looking at signs or other things along the road
-Anything that requires a drive to take their hand off the steering wheel
-Taking something out of the center console
-Eating or drinking a non-alcoholic beverage
-Anything that disrupts your mental focus
-Thinking about a personal or work issue
There are many ways you can be distracted while driving, but Georgia recognizes that phone usage while driving is responsible for most traffic crashes in our state as well as across the nation. That’s why in 2018 Georgia enacted a “Hands-free” law which prohibits drivers from using a phone in their hand or supported by their body when on the road. The law includes vehicles that are stopped on a road at a traffic signal or stop sign.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, join us as we strive to eliminate distractions behind the wheel.
Content provided by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, EndDD.org, The University of Utah