Avoid Distracted Driving

Avoid Distracted Driving
Posted on 02/14/2019
Much of the news lately has focused on driving safely in winter conditions. And rightly so, but it’s also vital to keep in mind the importance of avoiding distracted driving, now or any time of the year.

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. There are three main types of distraction: visual - taking your eyes off the road; manual - taking your hands off the wheel; and cognitive - taking your mind off what you are doing.

Distracted driving can happen anywhere at any time, including a recent officer involved distracted driving incident right here in New Hope. Take a look:

A variety of activities are common driving distractions, including: texting, cell phone use, eating, drinking, grooming, talking to passengers, reading, looking at maps or navigation systems, and audio devices. All distractions endanger driver, passenger and bystander safety.

Perhaps the best way to reduce distracted driving is to learn about the dangers. Below are some key facts about distracted driving from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

• In 2016, 3,450 people were killed on U.S. roads. An estimated 391,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.

• During daylight hours, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. That creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads.

• 40 percent of American teens say they have been a passenger in a car while the driver used a cell phone. In Minnesota, new drivers with a provisional license are banned from all cell phone use – whether handheld or hands-free.

• Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that is equivalent to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

• Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. In Minnesota, all drivers, regardless of age or license status, are prohibited from texting while driving.

For more information about distracted driving, visit Distraction.gov.