While distracted driving is a growing problem in the U.S., many people still don’t realize the facts about this dangerous behavior.
Sharing some insight into this issue, below, we will present the facts behind common and potentially dangerous myths about distracted driving.
Don’t Believe these Distracted Driving Myths
Myth 1 – Distracted driving isn’t that dangerous, and it doesn’t happen as often as people think.
Fact – Wrong! Data from federal transportation regulators indicates that, in 2013, about 424,000 people were hurt in accidents caused by distracted drivers and that more than 3,150 others were killed in distracted driving accidents.
Additionally, data shows that about 23 percent of all auto accidents are caused by drivers who were using their cellphones immediately before the collision.
Myth 2 – It’s not a big deal if people multitask while driving.
Fact – Wrong again. It is a big deal when motorists attempt to multitask because it presents a greater risk of an accident to every other motorist or traveler around him.
The reason for this is that, when motorists multitask, their brains are switching between the task of driving and the other task(s) being performed. This means that, at certain points, the brain is not taking in the changing driving conditions, increasing the risk that drivers will:
- Miss seeing something critical, such as a pedestrian, a changing intersection light or brake lights of vehicles in front of them
- Be far more likely to be involved in a collision.
Myth 3 – Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is more dangerous than distracted driving.
Fact – This isn’t true either. A study done at the University of Utah found that motorists using cellphones had reaction times that there were significantly slower than those for drivers with BACs of 0.08. Additionally, other research has found that texting while driving:
- Is about 6 times more likely to cause a collision than drunk driving.
- Results in similar impairments as drinking four alcohol beverages immediately before driving.
Myth 4 – I’m not a distracted driver because I use a hands-free device.
Fact – Actually, you are a distracted driver. Just because you aren’t holding a phone doesn’t mean that your attention isn’t diverted from the road. In fact, research has shown that the use of hands-free devices can cause “inattention blindness,” which can prevent drivers from seeing up to half of all of the important driving cues in their surrounding environment.
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