A distraction is anything that takes your mind and attention away from driving.
There are three main types of distraction (1):
- Visual — taking your eyes off the road
- Manual — taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive — taking your mind off what you’re doing
DID YOU KNOW…
- In 2017, there were 3,166 people killed in crashes involving distracted driving across the nation, 91 of which were people ages 18-24 in Texas (2,3).
- Handheld cell phone use continues to be higher among female drivers than male drivers (4).
- Since 2007, young drivers 16 to 24 years old have been observed manipulating electronic devices at higher rates than older drivers (4).
Cell Phones are a distraction
- Cell phone use while driving is highest among 16-24 year old drivers and female drivers using a cell phone are more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than male drivers (5).
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves (6).
- Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times (6).
- Texting and driving causes reaction time to double and those drivers have a harder time staying in their lane and maintaining a consistent speed (7).
Passengers are a distraction
- Nearly two out of every four youth that died as passengers are in vehicles driven by other teens (9).
- 53% of passengers ages 20-24 killed in a fatal crashes in 2017 were being driving by someone their own age (8).
- Research has shown that crash risk and risk of being killed in a crash increases as the number of young passengers in the vehicle increases (9).
How to Stop Distracted Driving
- Focus on the road. When you are driving is not the time to multi-task.
- Keep distractions out of the car. If you know you will be tempted to look at or use your phone, lock it in the trunk or turn it off.
- Ask passengers to obey your rules while they are in the car, meaning buckle up and don’t distract you.
- Designate a texter. If you have a passenger, hand over your phone so they can do your texting or talking for you.
- Be a good passenger by not distracting the driver.
- Know that as a driver, you have the responsibility to yourself and others. A vehicle is heavy machine and should be treated with respect.
- Set your music/radio before you take your car out of Park.
- Never use headphones while driving. It’s illegal and dangerous.
- Keep passengers to a minimum. If every person doesn’t have a seat belt, you have too many passengers.
- If you don’t feel well or emotionally able to drive – don’t. Ask for a ride or wait until you are able.
- Know your limitations. Driving experience comes with time. It’s ok to not be ready for certain driving conditions. Never feel pressured to drive dangerously or beyond your experience.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2019. Distracted Driving in Fatal Crashes, 2017.
- TxDOT Crash Records Information System (C.R.I.S.) extract, December 2018
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2016. 2016 National Occupant Protection Use Survey
- AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 2015
- Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
- Texas A&M Transportation Institute
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
- Ouimet MC, Pradhan AK, Brooks-Russell A, Ehsani JP, Berviche D, Simons-Morton BG. Young drivers and their passengers: a systematic review of epidemiological studies on crash risk. 2015. Journal of Adolescent Health 57 (1 Suppl):S24-35.