There are three main types of distractions:
- Visual - taking your eyes off the road
- Manual - taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive - taking your mind off what you are doing
Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increases the risk of crashing. While all distractions can endanger drivers’ safety, texting is the most alarming because it involves all three types of distraction.
Other distracting activities include:
- Using a cell phone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a PDA or navigation system
- Watching a video
- Changing the radio station, CD, or Mp3 player.
- Using a cell phone while driving, whether it is hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent
- Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.
- 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of near crashes involve some type of distraction.
- Nearly 3,200 people died in 2014 in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver, and more than half a million were injured
- The worst offenders are the youngest and least-experienced drivers: men and women under 20 years of age.
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.
- Some other forms of distractions include daydreaming or dealing with strong emotions.
- In 2014 an estimated 431,000 people were injured in police-reported crashes in which at least one form of driver distraction was reported on the police report.
- There were 39,863 fatal crashes in 2014. 16 percent of those deaths involved distracted drivers.
- Motorcycles and drivers of light trucks had the greatest percentage of total drivers reported as distracted at the time of the fatal crash (12%).
- There were 1,954,000 injury crashes reported in 2014, 21% of these crashes were reported to have involved distracted driving.