AKRON, Ohio, June 14, 2011 – Needing to read a text, fix makeup or fish for a piece of gum? Not so fast — these are some of many driving distractions that can last one second but change the rest of a person’s life.
Each year, thousands of people are killed due to distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and people under age 20 have the most distracted driving accidents.
There are three types of distracted driving: visual (taking eyes off the road), manual (removing hands from the wheel) and cognitive (letting the mind wander). These are due to having stressful jobs and busy lifestyles where cell phones are required, as well as having others present in the car.
Texting is particularly dangerous because it combines all three types of distracted driving.
According to Rebecca Wise, Summit County Safe Communities Grant Coordinator who speaks at area schools about the importance of staying safe, “The majority of [students] will admit to texting and driving,” she said. “However, beyond texting, they do not believe they are being a distracted driver. There are many other things we do when we drive that cause us to be distracted. Being distracted for one second can cost a life.”
The NHTSA notes other distractions besides texting that drivers, especially teens, should avoid:
- Using a cell phone (including a hands-free device, which affects cognitive ability)
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a PDA or navigation system
- Watching a video
- Changing the radio station, CD, or MP3 player.
For more information, visit http://www.distraction.gov/index.html.
There have been seven traffic-related fatalities in Summit County this year, and one was in the 16-25 age group. From January through June 2010, there were 13 traffic-related fatalities, with three of these in the 16-25 age group.
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