Don’t Be a Distracted Driver

With school starting soon, the team at American Trust Insurnace would like to remind everyone to drive smartly and safely.    One thing you can do to drive safer is put down your cell phone when you’re behind the wheel.    The Department of Transportation, local officials and even celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey are urging you to NOT text while you are driving.   

Here are a few facts pertaining to texting and driving that you can share with your friends and family –

What is distracted driving?
Distraction occurs any time you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off your primary task: driving safely. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.  But because texting on your phone requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.

Who are the most serious offenders?
Our youngest and most inexperienced drivers are most at risk, with 16% of all distracted driving crashes involving drivers under 20. But they are not alone. At any given moment during daylight hours, over 800,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone.

Sending or reading one text is pretty quick, unlike a phone conversation – wouldn’t that be okay?
Texting is the most alarming distraction because it involves manual, visual, and cognitive distraction simultaneously. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field, blindfolded. It’s extraordinarily dangerous.

39 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam ban text messaging for all drivers. Twelve of these laws were enacted in 2010 alone.

Cell phone use was reported in 18% of distraction related fatalities in the US.

In 2010, 3092 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.

Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%. (Carnegie Mellon)

For more information on distracted driving, visit www.distraction.gov.