What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any non-driving activity. A person who engages in that has the potential to distract himself or herself from driving and increases the risk of crashing.
There are three main types of distraction namely
  • Visual distraction- taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual distraction- taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive distraction- taking your mind off
Texting is the most dangerous one since it involves all three types of distraction. Other distracting activities while driving include:
  • Using a cell phone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a PDA or navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Changing the radio station, CD, or Mp3 player.
A 2008 survey taken by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discloses that the usage of electronic devices while driving has increased nowadays. Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver.
probability-based observed data on the usage of electronic device by drivers in US and it shows that the percentage of young driver's texting or using other hand-held electronic devices has increased from 2007.
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's 2008 nationwide survey provides the only nationwide
  • It also reveals that the rate of hand-held cell phone use in 2008 translates into 812,000 vehicles being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone at any given moment during daylight hours.
  • It also translates into an estimated 11 percent of all vehicles that had drivers who were using hand-held or hands-free phone.

What are all the state laws on distracted driving?

  1. Some of the states and territories have endorsed bans on hand-held devices or texting to reduce the threat of distracted driving for the public.

  2. 30 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam prohibit texting for all drivers. Twelve of these laws were come into existence in 2010 alone.

  3. 8 states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands restrict all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving.

Campaign tools on distracted driving?

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation is encouraging people to get involved in spreading the word about the distracted driving awareness.
  • The key message is to stop the drivers involving in other activities while driving.
  • The primary responsibility of a driver is to operate his/her vehicle and to do so safely! Just "Put It (Mobile Phones) down" and concentrate on the road.

What are all the three key elements to decrease distracted driving

All campaigns should be tailored to meet your individual needs. No single approach will work in every State or community.
Put It Down
One of the most commonly documented distractions is the usage of cell phone while driving. Convincing drivers to put down all distracting devices such as cell phones, GPS, MP3 players is a key to stopping distracted driving. Everyone needs to realize that full attention cannot be paid to the road while using these devices or engaging in other distracting activities.
Use Messages That Work
After thoroughly investigating the problem of distracted driving and the supporting data, three messages have stood out that will potentially move Americans to action. Use these key messages to help explain why "Put It Down" is so important to all of us.
Everyone has a role
  • We all have a hazard in this problem and we are all part of the solution. We must focus our concentration on driving.
  • We should be a good model to our children, our peers, our community and insist that when riding with others they do the same.
Young drivers are at great risk
  • Young, inexperienced drivers, fewer than 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
  • Their lack of driving experience can contribute to critical misjudgments, yet they text more than any other age group. It's a trend that causes a growing danger, so it's important to tackle this issue now.
Deadly behavior
Thousands of people die and thousands of injuries happen each year simply.
This is mainly because people were not paying attention to the road. The chances of causing a crash that could ruin lives are just too great.
Implement a Three-Part Strategy
In order to decrease distracted driving we must concentrate our efforts on three tracks simultaneously.
Work to encourage State legislatures to pass primary (standard) anti­ texting/hand held cell phone use bans in every State.
Public Education
Create awareness about "Put It Down." Remind others that the cost for not paying attention to the road is too high.
Support local law enforcement's efforts to seek compliance with State's texting and cell phone use laws. Publicize your support of law enforcement's efforts.

High Visibility Enforcement Demonstration Programs

Self-Reported Use and Awareness Surveys
Motorists who visited driver licensing offices in the test and comparison sites completed a single page questionnaire asking whether they had seen or heard of the distracted driv¬ing program, enforcement, or messaging. They were asked about their cell phone use while driving and whether they had changed their cell phone use in the past 30 days.
Observed Phone Use in Connecticut
From the baseline to the end of the second wave hand-held cell phone use dropped 56% (from 6.8% to 3.1%) in the Hartford areas compared to 20% (6.6% to 5.3%) in the control areas. Most of the decrease in cell phone use was attributed to driv¬ers age 25 to 59 in the Hartford area. Young drivers 16 to 24 dropped 5.3 percentage points.

Researches made on distracted driving

According to NHTSA data, the age group under-20 has the greatest proportion of distracted drivers. Sixteen percent of all under-20 drivers involved in a fatal crash were reported to have been distracted while driving. Of those drivers involved in fatal crashes who were reportedly distracted, the 30-39 year old group had the highest ratio of cell phone involvement.
Studies show that teens are far less likely to use a cell phone when they drive if their parents set clear rules up front. This isn't an issue that affects just one area of the country, or one segment of the population. This affects everybody who gets into a vehicle, day or night. We are in this together, as a nation, and we have got to solve it together.
Adults are just as likely as teens to have texted while driving and are considerably more likely to have talked on the phone while driving. In addition, 49% of adults say they have been passengers in a car when the driver was sending or reading text messages on their cell phone.
Overall, 44% of adults say they have been passengers of drivers who used the cell phone in a way that put themselves or others in danger. Beyond driving, some cell-toting pedestrians get so distracted while talking or texting that they have physically bumped into another person or an object.
A Message from Ray LaHood, Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation
To put it plainly, distracted driving is a menace to society. And it seems to be getting worse every year. Every single time you take your eyes off the road or talk on the phone while you're driving - even for just a few seconds - you put your life in danger. And you put others in danger too. This kind of behavior is irresponsible - and the consequences are devastating.