Distracted driving? What does that even mean? “I can drive my car and eat a sandwich” or “I can drive and apply my makeup.” Drivers all over the country are finding themselves being pulled over by law enforcement for the tiniest of infractions. Chock it up to an emerging technology with its pros and cons, the so-called police state, or, municipalities looking to cash in on its residents; anyway you look at it, you’re looking at the annoyance and the cost of a distracted driving citation.
Distracted Driving Techniques
The title of the infraction really speaks for itself. A distraction from driving is literally anything that causes you to make driving your vehicle a secondary activity, or even a shared activity. Driving your vehicle SAFELY is a primary task – anytime you make driving your vehicle safely a secondary task then you are a distracted driver. A distracted driving citation is an “umbrella” used by law enforcement to alert you to the fact that you were engaged in activities other than operating your vehicle safely. If your state hasn’t adopted anti-cell phone use and simultaneous driving laws, you may be cited for distracted driving.
Be aware, the driving citation is not exclusive to cell phone use; the infraction could mean you’re eating and driving, reading a paper and driving, applying makeup/shaving and driving, or even kissing your significant other and driving! Just be aware, and know that law enforcement is committed to actively pursuing distracted drivers and alerting them to their infractions.
Distracted Driving Statistics
While texting and driving is often the most cited cause of distracted driving – it can also involve drivers who were distracted by their children or their pets. Electronic devices – while they may be hands-free – such as a your radio or satellite navigation equipment, also regularly contribute to citations of the driving infraction.
What is the most cited reason for distracted driving? Rubbernecking. Rubbernecking is when the driver is observing something/someone, outside of the vehicle. A study by Shutko and Tijerina in 2011 shows the following:
- Most of the collisions and near-misses that occur involve inattention as a contributing factor; and;
- Visual inattention – that is, looking away from the road scene – is the single most significant factor contributing to crash and near-crash involvement, and;
- Cognitive distraction associated with listening to or talking on a handheld or hands-free device is associated with real world crashes and near-miss events to a lesser extent than is commonly believed, and such distractions may even enhance safety in some instances
While virtually 90% of us are guilty of distracted driving – remember that, country-wide, law enforcement has made it a priority to address the problem of distracted driving and issue all of us citations. Be careful, and make sure that driving is your primary task while behind the wheel.