Do Your Part to Prevent Dangers of Distracted Driving
Do Your Part to PreventDangers of Distracted Driving October 2011
The first week of October isthe Network of Employers forTraffic Safety’s (NETS) 2011Drive Safely Work Week(DSWW). The event is run inpartnership with the U.S.Department ofTransportation andencourages businesses tofocus on the dangers ofdistracted driving with theiremployees.
But what is distracted driving? It can be a variety ofthings including using a mobile phone, eating anddrinking, talking to passengers, reading, grooming oreven just changing the radio station.
The Department of Transportation classifies distractionsinto three categories: Visual — taking your eyes off the road Manual — taking your hands off the wheel Cognitive — taking your mind off what you’re doing
The Hard Facts about Distracted Driving1. Distractions Increase The Risk of Accidents - Anumber of studies have been done on the issue andthe crash statistics related to driving distractions arealarming. The National Highway Traffic SafetyAdministration reported that in 2009, 20 percent ofinjury crashes
2. Thumbs Belong on theSteering Wheel at All Times Click to Watch
The Insurance Institute forHighway Safety reports thatdrivers who use hand-heldmobile devices are four timesas likely to get into serious caraccidents. A University ofUtah study reports that usinga cell phone while drivingdelays the reactions of adriver as much as having ablood alcohol level of .08percent.
Some states, such as Michigan have made it illegal totext and drive, costing drivers a $100 ticket if they arefound texting behind the wheel.
3. Staying Awake is Not OptionalAnother category ofdistraction is drowsiness.There are 56,000 accidentsannually cited by policefrom fatigue. The causesvary, but sleep loss,medications, sleepdisorders and alcohol areall factors and increase therisk of drowsy driving.
For DSWW, employers are encouraged to talk with theiremployees and share safe driving tips for both drivers andpassengers. Here are some tips to focus on to help driverskeep distractions to a minimum:• Do not text while driving or have a designated call taker, maker or texter• Dont drive drowsy, avoid alcohol and using drugs• Increase following distance and always buckle up• Avoid loud music, using cell phones, and interruptions from passengers
For car owners who don’thave an employer taking partin the program, they can findresources about the topic atthe Department ofTransportation websitedistraction.gov and theNational Safety Council’swebsite www.nsc.org.
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