November 23, 2020 By Member Jennifer Homendy
- When you think of common ways drivers are distracted on the road, you probably think of talking or texting on mobile devices, eating, reading, or perhaps even putting on makeup or shaving. It’s easy to recognize that these risky behaviors are distractions. There are even laws on the books in several states that ban these sorts of distractions—particularly hand-held mobile phone use—so drivers know better than to do these things while driving (even if they do them on occasion anyway). Hands-free mobile phone use, on the other hand . . . that’s okay, right?
Not so fast.
Distracted driving causes an alarming number of deaths and injuries on America’s roads each year, and it has proven to be a hard problem to solve. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say that 2,800 people died because of distracted driving in 2018 alone. And distraction is particularly dangerous for vulnerable road users; 400 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists were killed that year.
- A 2013 study detailed three types of distraction:
- Visual (taking your eyes off the road),
- Manual (taking your hands off the wheel to hold something, like food or a mobile device), and
- Cognitive (those distractions that cause a driver to take his or her mind off the primary task of driving safely, like making hands-free calls or even stressing about an important meeting).