Distracted driving awareness is prevalent, and Massachusetts has a hands-free law to combat the problem. However, this does not stop people from trying to multi-task behind the wheel. Texting and driving is especially dangerous because it combines the three ways a person can be distracted: visual distractions, manual distractions and cognitive distractions.
What makes texting and driving so distracting?
Texting and driving is dangerous because it encompasses the three primary types of distraction. It is visually distracting, as the motorist’s eyes are on their phone rather than on the road. It is manually distracting, as the motorist is handling the phone rather than keeping their hands on the steering wheel. Finally, it is cognitively distracting, as the motorist is reading a text or thinking about how to reply, rather than paying attention to the task of driving.
Distracted driving is about more than cellphones
When we think of distracted driving, we may immediately think about people texting while behind the wheel or talking on their cellphone. However, there are other ways a person can be distracted while driving. A person who is eating or tuning the radio has their hands off the wheel. A person chatting to passengers may be thinking more about the conversation than the task of driving. Ultimately, if a driver is not paying attention to the task of driving, it can lead to a distracted driving accident.
Distracted driving is a real problem in the U.S.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each day approximately eight people across the nation lose their lives in a car accident involving a distracted driver. In 2018, more than 2,800 individuals across the U.S. lost their lives and approximately 400,000 suffered injuries in a car crash involving a distracted driver. It can be hard to ignore the ding of a text message, but if you are driving it is essential to wait until you are done driving to address the text, in order to avoid causing a distracted driving accident.