In today's fast-paced, technology-filled world, drivers are bombarded with distractions — from cell phones and iPods to other passengers and eating on-the-go. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2010 more than 3,000 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver. Furthermore, an estimated 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
What is Distracted Driving? Any activity that a driver engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increases the risk of accidents. The following are the three main types of distraction:
- Visual — Taking your eyes off the road
- Manual — Taking your hands of the wheel
- Cognitive — Taking your mind off what you're doing
To keep you, your passengers and other drivers safe, NJM recommends avoiding the following distracting activities while driving:
- Texting or talking on a cell phone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps and billboards
- Programming a GPS or other navigation system
- Watching a video
Also, exercise care when changing the radio station, CD, or MP3 player. Today, text messaging is the most dangerous distraction among drivers, requiring visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver. Text messaging while driving increases crash risk up to 23 times.