Eating and drinking, using your "infotainment" system, talking on your cell phone – these are just a few ways we can all get distracted while at the wheel. Safe driving requires your full attention! Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of getting into an accident. Each day in the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. Unsurprisingly, teens are the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes.
There are three main types of distraction:
- Visual – when you take your eyes off the road
- Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive – taking your mind off driving, or “zoning out"
Texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction. Reading or sending text messages takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, that’s enough time to cover a football field while driving at 55 mph! Many states are enacting laws that ban texting while driving and some are implementing a gradual driver’s license system for teen drivers to help raise awareness about the dangers of distracted dricing and to help prevent it from occurring. In fact, as of June 2017, texting while driving was declared banned in 46 states and the District of Columbia.
Seeing how many ways there are get distracted while driving can make it intimidating to get back on the road, but don’t worry! We can all play a role in keeping yourself and others from distracted driving. Parents – lead by example! Don’t let yourself be distracted and talk with your teenage drivers about distraction and the responsivities of being a driver. Remind your young driver that in the states with graduated driver licensing (GDL), a violation of distracted driving laws could mean a suspended or delayed license. Encourage your teen to speak up when they see a friend driving while distracted – teens can be the best messengers with their peers. They can also sign a pledge to never drive distracted, and become involved in their local Students Against Destructive Driving Decisions chapter. They can share message on social media that remind their friends and family to not make a decision they will regret.
Community Care Physicians is there for you and your teenage driver
The thought of letting your teen on the road by themselves can be a scary one, especially with all the distractions that could take their eyes off the road. If you’re concerned about distracted driving and your teen, talk with your pediatrician to educate your child on the dangers and consequences of distracted driving. If you are in need of a pediatrician or family practitioner, CCP has offices conveniently located throughout the Capital Region. You can click here to find a practitioner or call our Concierge Care Coordinator, who would be happy to help you find a practitioner that best fits your needs. To contact our coordinator, call (518) 782-3800. Safe travels!