“On my way.” Think about how many times you have spoken those words or texted them while you are driving.
In an earlier blog, we discussed taking the pledge to end texting and driving. The average texting time is about 5 seconds. If you are driving over 55 mph while texting, you’ll drive over a football length’s field without focusing on the road.
Texting is only one of many driving distractions.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has categorized these into three areas: manual, visual, and cognitive.
The most common distractions are manual distractions which can be anything that takes your hand off the wheel. Common manual distractions are: texting, looking up directions, reading emails, playing music, and eating and drinking.
Visual distractions are similar to manual distractions. Visual distractions are what take your eyes off the road, and can include: texting, directions, billboards, looking at the scenery, playing the “punch-bug” game, and more.
At any time during daylight hours, over 660,000 drivers are using a hand-held phone, according to the NHTSA. To help eliminate these interruptions, hands-free tools have been created. Headsets and Bluetooth have been able to take away the manual distractions, but does it really help drivers focus more on the road?
The answer is no because there is still a cognitive distraction, meaning your mind is not focused on the road. Studies have shown that hands-free tools cause drivers to miss important visual and audio cues. I’m sure we’ve all been yelled at once or twice for talking and missing an exit.
Individual states are creating laws to help decrease distracted driving. In Missouri, the only ban is on texting for novice drivers. However, Illinois has a few more, including:
- Ban on all cell phone use (hands free or handheld) for novice and bus drivers
- Ban on texting for all drivers
- Ban on handheld devices for all drivers
- The use of cell phones in school zones and highway construction zones
All of these restrictions in Missouri and Illinois are primary laws, which allow police officers to pull you over solely for this offense. You will receive a traffic violation.
While you are on your way to work, heading home, or meeting friends, think before you call or text those words. Putting your phone down may eliminate a potential accident that could affect you, your family, and drivers and pedestrians around you.