With ever increasing demands on our personal and professional time in today's busy society, learning to juggle multiple tasks at once is something we all face daily. As a result, a new traffic safety epidemic has emerged on America's roadways that demands immediate attention: distracted driving.
Distracted driving is any activity that could divert your attention away from the primary task of driving, including:
• Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
• Using a navigation system
• Talking to passengers
• Eating and drinking
• Watching a video
One of the most dangerous distractions is texting or talking on a cell phone. According to a Carnegie Mellon study, driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.
In 2010, nearly 3,092 people were killed, and an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
If you text while you're behind the wheel, you're 20 times more likely to be involved in a crash than a non-distracted driver.
Parents please listen.
Since nearly 50 percent of teens text while driving, and 8 teens die every day in traffic accidents, it's no coincidence that distracted driving and teen traffic deaths are on the rise. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States.
Last year in Lubbock there were more than 7,800 accidents; 23 involving fatalities.
The next time you are pressed for time, and it seems like multitasking in the car is the best decision, remember those 3,092 lives that were taken because someone decided they could do two things at once. A text or call is not worth your life, or anyone else's.
Distracted driving does not just happen - it is a choice. Working together, we can all help reduce driver distraction, save lives, and prevent injuries.