Distracted Driving are the buzz-words these days when it comes to traffic safety. Ever since the “texting” craze swept in a couple of years ago, there has been a lot of concern with the insane practice of reading and thumbing those urgent messages (how r u ?) that just can’t wait. One idiot driving a Boston subway trolley rear-ended another one, sending a few dozen people to the hospital. We also reported on some numbskull who was doing it while driving an ambulance on an emergency call (yes….she crashed). Literally thousands of similar news reports came flooding in, but still the stupidity lingers.
The U. S. Department of Transportation has teamed up with the American Automobile Association (AAA) to combat the practice and try and change the related habits of those who persist in doing things like texting and similar activities that draw a driver’s attention away from his obligation to pay attention to the safe operation of any motor vehicle.
In the course of their research, the AAA found out that:
- Looking away from the forward roadway for two or more seconds doubles a driver’s risk of a crash or near-crash event.
- Truckers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near-crash event if texting while driving.
- Auto drivers are 6 times more likely to crash if texting while driving as opposed to not doing so.
- Cellphone use while driving is associated with roughly a quadrupling of crash risk.
Playing with the pocket phone is not the only activity that can distract a driver. Attempting to change a CD in the player, or select another tune, for instance leads to the 2-second window of vulnerability. The also learned, to their surprise, that this new gadgetry like OnStar of voice-activated communications technology results in a cognitive distraction that increases your risk of an accident.
Thirty of the fifty states have enacted laws that prohibit some degree of text messaging while driving:
So let’s pocket the phone and get this equipment checked out now. I’m going to get the coffee started, but don’t expect a text message telling you when it’s ready. I don’t do that stuff. See you back in the day room.