In the state of Illinois, cell phone distractions, which includes texting, account for the primary or secondary cause for more than 1,100 crashes in 2011. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), at least 3,092 people nationally were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver.
Distracted driving takes your eyes off the road for approximately 4.6 seconds. If you are driving at 55 mph, this means that you are driving blindfolded for a distance equivalent to one football field, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. 80 percent of all crashes, 65 percent of near crashes and 16 percent of highway deaths all involve some kind of distraction (Virginia Tech 100-Car Naturalistic Study for NHTSA).
According to the NHTSA, texting while driving increases the likelihood of a crash by 23 times while a driver is sending the text. There is one accident every 24 seconds that is attributed to distracted driving with a cell phone (National Safety Council) and the worst offenders are the youngest and least experienced drivers (NHTSA).
Although hands-free systems are marketed by car companies as a safer alternative for drivers, a new AAA study shows that it is actually more distracting. According to AAA, the greater the concentration required to perform a task, the more likely it is for a person to develop tunnel vision. In the case of a driver focusing on speaking to the hands free system and working to get his or her message communicated clearly, the driver will stop scanning the roadway or ignore side and rearview mirrors. They will, instead, look straight ahead, but fail to actually see what is in front of them. The driver may then fail to stop for red lights or notice pedestrians.
Even though AAA found that hands-free systems are distracting, a study by the NHTSA study of real world driving experiences found that hand-held devices were less safe than hands-free.
Read the full article here: http://www.suntimes.com/business/20695200-418/aaa-hands-free-texting-more-distracting-for-drivers.html
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