Driving While Distracted: It’s not just texting anymore

When you are driving, how often do you see other drivers checking their phones while behind the wheel? And, be honest, how often do you do it yourself?

The problem has gotten so big that highways across the country now regularly warn drivers “Don’t text and drive.” And 46 states and the District of Columbia have laws banning texting and driving. But the issue isn’t just talking and texting anymore. Drivers are on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Maps, Spotify, YouTube and now “Pokemon Go,” the video game that has captured the world’s attention and has become the latest concern for distracted-driving advocates.

Nearly 70% of teens say they use apps while driving, according to a just-released survey of 2,500 high school-age children across the country. When the teens were asked to rank the behaviors they consider the most distracting or dangerous for a teen driver, 29% said driving under the influence of alcohol and 25% said writing or sending a text message. Only 6% said actively looking at or posting to social media is the most distracting or dangerous behavior behind the wheel for a teen driver, according to the survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).

In another survey, this one sponsored by the National Safety Council and focusing on 2,400 drivers of all ages, 74% said they would use Facebook while driving, and 37% said they would use Twitter while behind the wheel, with YouTube (35%) and Instagram (33%) close behind.

Every day, more than eight people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes reported to involve distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Distracted driving includes activities such as talking on a cell phone, texting and eating. Based on observations and crash data, the National Safety Council estimates that about one-fourth of all crashes can be attributed to distracted driving connected with use of a phone. 

Looking at your phone to read one text is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes off the road, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A single text increases your chances of crashing by at least six times, according to a study by the University of Utah.

For more information and to read the entire CNN article, follow this link: http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/01/health/distracted-driving-not-just-texting-pokemon-go/index.html

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