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
- Teen Driver Safety (PDF): Use of electronic devices is the most common source of distraction for teenage drivers.
- Driver Safety: With increasing awareness of distracted driving dangers and more laws, the prevalence of teens using electronic devices while driving has decreased.
- Distracted Driving Shatters Lives (PDF): Car crashes are the top cause of death for teenagers in the United States, and distractions contribute to this statistic.
- Teens in the Driver's Seat: Parents and teens might choose to take a pledge to commit to distraction-free driving.
- Remarks at the Teen Distracted Driving Prevention Summit: With their lack of driving experience, teens have a greater risk of serious accidents if an event occurs.
- Teen Driving: Parents can play a pivotal role in keeping teens safe behind the wheel by setting rules, supervising driving, and providing a positive example of attentive driving.
- Teen Passengers: "The Other Distraction" for Teen Drivers: Driving with multiple passengers in a vehicle can lead to serious distractions for a teenage driver.
- Distracted Driving Can Ruin Young Lives: Teen drivers are at a higher risk of accidents from distracted driving than other age groups.
Texting and Driving
- Dangers of Texting and Driving: Federal laws do not ban texting and driving, but many states have banned texting and cell phone use while driving.
- It's Confirmed: Driving's a Full-Time Job: How Texting Impairs Driving Performance: In a recent study, at least 20 percent of drivers admitted to texting while driving.
- Nearly Half of State's Distracted Drivers Are Texting: Many of the accidents that occur from texting and driving are preventable had drivers been paying full attention to driving.
- Texting and Driving: The average time someone looks down to read or send a text is five seconds.
- Does Driver Safety Education Have an Impact on Texting While Driving? (PDF): When someone feels confident in their driving ability, this may lead a person to feel that they can manage texting while 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
- Distracted Driving: Turn off a cell phone while driving to prevent the temptation of this distraction.
- Distracted Driving Prevention Tips: Put your phone away and turn it off while driving to avoid distractions. Never engage in stressful conversations while driving.
- Distracted Driving : Plan ahead before you begin driving to ensure that you have everything you need within easy reach.
- Prevention of Distracted Driving (PDF): Avoid driving when you are upset or excited because these emotions can impair your driving ability.
- Reduce Risks of Distracted Driving (PDF): Even pulling your eyes from the road for one second can have an adverse effect on driving. Minimize all distractions when driving.
- Distracted Driving: We're All Guilty, So What Should We Do About it?: Resist the urge to stay connected even when driving.
- Distracted Driving: An Epidemic (PDF): The expansion of technology has a direct correlation with the rise of distracted driving and resulting accidents.
- New Research Shows Bans on Texting While Driving Can Reduce Crash-Related Hospitalizations: Texting bans have been instrumental in reducing accident-related hospitalizations, according to recent research.
- Fatal Attraction: We Can't Stop Texting While Driving: Most people agree that texting and driving is unsafe. However, this does not stop many people from doing it anyway.
- Measuring Cognitive Distraction in the Automobile (PDF): Performing tasks requires cognitive work. Multitasking while driving pulls the mind away from the full-time task of driving.
- OK Phone, What Is Distracted Driving? Even if you use hands-free technology for a voice conversation while driving, distractions can occur.