Sitting behind the wheel of a car and operating it at any speed requires the full attention of the driver. Any activity that pulls the eyes, hands, or mind away from this task would be considered distracted driving. Phones are a common source of distractions for drivers, but there are other activities that can also pull attention away from the road. To drive safely, the wise driver eliminates as many distractions as possible and focuses on operating the motor vehicle.
Understanding Distracted Driving
- Understanding the Distracted Brain (PDF): Multitasking while driving causes distractions that can have fatal consequences. This state of distraction can cause a type of inattentive blindness that prevents people from seeing objects while driving.
- A Growing Problem of Driver Distraction (PDF): Distracted driving involves operating a motor vehicle while doing any other activity that diverts your attention away from driving.
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving involves looking away, taking your hands off of the steering wheel, or allowing your mind to wander away from the task of driving.
- Overview of Distracted Driving: Even hands-free cell phone use can pull the brain away from the task of driving, which can be very dangerous.
- What Is Distracted Driving? (PDF): Adults may engage in distracted driving more than teenagers, according to some statistics.
- Distracted Driving Overview: Anything that pulls your attention away from driving is a distraction. This can include occupants in the vehicle, eating, or music.
Facts and Figures
- Know the Facts About Distracted Driving (PDF): Distracted drivers caused the deaths of 3,328 people and 421,000 injuries in 2012.
- Facts and Statistics: Of the teen drivers who were involved in fatal crashes, 10 percent were found to be distracted at the time of the accidents.
- Distracted Driving 2013 (PDF): Data indicates that 2,959 distracted drivers were involved in fatal car accidents in 2013. Some accidents involved more than one distracted driver.
- Distracted Driving: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that eight people are killed and 1,161 people are injured every day in car accidents due to distracted driving.
- Key Facts and Statistics (PDF): Reading or typing a text message takes an average of 4.6 seconds. Texting for three seconds while driving at 65 miles per hour is about the same as driving 100 yards while blindfolded.
- Trends in Fatalities From Distracted Driving in the United States, 1999 to 2008: Between 1999 and 2008, texting increased significantly for cell phone users. Fatalities from distracted driving also increased during this period.
Cell Phone Use
- Cell Phone Distracted Driving: Talking on a cell phone can cause "inattention blindness," which means that the brain stops processing what you see due to distraction.
- Distracted Driving: Talking and Texting: States with laws about mobile phone use while driving specify the illegal activity as holding a device and talking on it, entering text into it, or viewing the screen.
- Distraction and Cell Phone Use (PDF): The cognitive distraction that can occur with cell phone use while driving might cause a reduction in spatial processing, which enables drivers to remember and understand the objects they see.
Distracted Driving and Teens
Texting and Driving
- Distracted Driving Research (PDF): Eating, drinking, road construction, an outside event or object, and a crash scene are examples of other objects that can cause distraction while driving.
- Dangers of Distracted Driving (PDF): Personal grooming, reading maps, and using a navigation system are additional examples of distracting activities.
- Distractions in Everyday Driving (PDF): Eating, changing a radio station, inserting a CD, or putting on lip gloss are dangerous activities to perform while driving.
Preventing Distracted Driving