April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month – allowing traffic safety advocates the opportunity to shine a light on the issue.
Distracted driving has become a hot topic of conversation, debate and policy making these days. Cell phones are a major target, but distractions are anything that takes your mind and attention away from your main task — driving.
Distractions can take many forms, including:
- Interacting with your cell phone (talking, texting, checking Facebook or email, etc.),
- Distracting passengers,
- Putting on makeup, or
- Changing the radio.
Several studies have shown that driving performance deteriorates while performing other complex tasks. For example, one Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) study found that while texting and driving, participant reaction times were doubled, and they were less able to maintain lane position and a constant speed. Another TTI study found that even when using voice-to-text applications, driver reaction times were doubled.
Ways to get involved
Teens in the Driver Seat is a peer-to-peer driving safety program that targets the top five risk factors for teen drivers, including distracted driving. To learn more about the program and get involved, visit t-driver.com.
The National Safety Council launched its newest campaign targeted at distracted driving this month – Calls Kill. The campaign asks drivers to stop all cell phone use while driving, including hands-free devices.