Distracted Driving

By April 7, 2022Health Tips
The National Safety Council estimates that as many as 40,000 people died on U.S. roadways in 2016.  That was a 14% increase since 2014, the most dramatic 2-year increase in 53 years.  Every year in the U.S., at least 3,000 people die in crashes known to involve a distracted driver.  It’s not just cell phones that cause distraction.  Let’s talk about what we can all do to decrease distracted driving and save lives.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted DrivingDistracted driving is doing any other activity that takes the driver’s attention away from driving.  We all think of cell phones as the cause but there are many things that can distract us, including:
  • Using a cell phone for talking or texting, even hands-free
  • Using a navigation system or GPS
  • Eating while driving
  • Children crying or arguing in the back seat
  • A heated argument or discussion with a passenger
There are three types of distracted driving.
  • Visual – Taking your eye off the road
  • Manual – Taking your hands off the steering wheel
  • Cognitive – Taking your mind off driving
Sending a text causes all three!
Who is more at risk for distracted driving?
Young adults and teens are much more likely to drive distracted.  However, adults are also guilty of distracted driving more than you might think.
What can you do to prevent distracted driving?
As the driver:
  • DO NOT multitask while driving!  Do not use your phone while driving for calls or texts.  Adjust your mirrors and seat before you drive.  Pull over to check on your crying baby.  Eat before or after you drive, not during.
  • Consider trying an app designed to help you avoid cell phone distractions while driving.
  • Pull over to make a call or send a text that you feel is important.
As the passenger:
  • If you think the driver is distracted, speak up and ask them to focus on driving.
  • Help the driver by assisting with navigation or monitoring their phone for them.
  • Wait until after the drive is over to bring up topics that might be upsetting or cause an argument with the driver.
As a parent:
  • Talk to your teen or young adult about the rules and responsibilities involved in driving.  Remind them that driving is a skill that requires their full attention.  Emphasize that cell phones should never be used while driving.
  • Know your state’s laws on distracted driving.  Many states have provisions in their distracted driving laws specifically for novice drivers.  Make sure you and your teen are aware of your state’s penalties for distracted driving.  Remember that your own rules for your teen driver can be stricter than your state’s law.
  • Set consequences for distracted driving and stick to them.  The CDC has a

    Parent-Teen Driving Agreement
    that you can use to help set the rules and
    communicate them with your teenager.
  • Set a good example for your children even before they start driving by always paying attention to the road.
For more information, use this link:

If you have any questions about distracted driving, please log into your account and send
us your question. We are here to help.

Dr. Anita Bennett MD – Health Tip Content Editor

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