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Are you distracted?
Nearly half a million people are injured in a distracted driving accident every year. Thousands more are killed. Distracted driving doesn’t just refer to texting behind the wheel; eating, talking to your passenger, even changing the radio station are examples of distracted driving. Any time you take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off the task at hand, driving, you are distracted.
Here are some of the common ways drivers are distracted:
• Using a cellphone/smartphone in any way
o Includes texting, talking, Facebook, music systems
• Talking to passengers
• Brushing hair or putting on makeup
• Reading (includes maps)
• Using a GPS (standalone or on the phone)
• Eating & drinking
• Adjusting the radio
You may think that by just glancing down – either at the radio, your phone, your phone, or your burger – you can’t be at risk. But if you’re driving 55 mph, in just five seconds of taking your eyes off the road, you will have driven the entire length of a football field, essentially with your eyes closed.
Driving behavior in passenger cars falls to each state to decide the laws, so every state has different distracted driving legislation. You can check out each individual state’s laws here. The US Department of Transportation is working to educate drivers on the dangers of distracted driving. Take the pledge to turn your phone off when you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle to keep you, your passengers and other people on the road safe.