These days, people are bombarded with devices that can help accomplish more in less time. With people spending an average of about 75 minutes in their vehicles every day, unfortunately, other activities — from talking to the kids to eating dinner — often take place behind the wheel.
Experts estimate that drivers are doing something potentially distracting more than 15 percent of the time their vehicles are in motion.
If you’re driving your vehicle, you are already multitasking. At a minimum you are: operating a piece of heavy machinery at high speed; navigating across changing terrain; calculating speeds and distances; and responding to all the other drivers and obstacles around you.
Putting one more activity in the mix — even talking to your passengers or changing a radio station — can be enough to make you lose control of your vehicle or fail to respond in an emergency.
A study by AAA found almost everyone reaches for something, adjusts a control, or gets distracted at some point while driving, which is one of the reasons distracted driving is such a big problem.
Driver inattention is a factor in more than 1 million crashes in North America annually, resulting in serious injuries, death, and an economic impact that some experts say reaches nearly $40 billion per year.
The AAA Foundation’s first annual Traffic Safety Culture Index found that 82% of motorist rated distracted driving as a serious problem, yet over half of those same individuals admitted to reading or sending text messages while driving.
Think about the things that distract you. Do you do things while you’re driving that you wouldn’t want others to do?
If you have any questions, need some additional information on distracted drivers or would like to be a member of the Injury Prevention/DUI Task Force please contact 406-433-2207.
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Don Smies is Injury Prevention Specialist and DUI Task Force coordinator for the Richland County Health Department.