The National Safety Council observes April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. As reported in prior publications, distracted driving increases the likelihood of motor vehicle accidents and injuries.
Talking. Texting. Dialing.
Eating. Shaving. Reading.
In 2013 over 424,000 people were injured in distracted driving accidents, 3,154 died.
Distractions are anything that takes your attention from the task at hand. In this case, your task is driving.
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Hand-held smartphone use while driving is banned in fourteen states and the District of Columbia. Text messaging is banned for all drivers in 46 states and the District of Columbia.
While younger drivers are more likely to be involved in distracted-affected fatal accidents and are much more likely to text while driving than older drivers, all drivers are at risk for this behavior. For example, according to the National Institutes of Health, age-related declines in vision, hearing, and other abilities can affect the driving skills of older drivers. Add in distractions caused by alerts, ringtones and vibrations and it's easy to see how distracted driving is a problem for this group as well.
As vehicle owners, educational institutions, such as colleges, universities and K-12 schools, can and should establish policies regarding the use of their vehicles. Establishing a policy prohibiting the use of hand held smartphones while driving, except in an emergency, makes sense. Besides guidance, it gives administrators the ability to impose disciplinary measures when the policy is violated.
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Here are several helpful resources mentioned in other publications, plus additional sites that will help you control this issue:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Injury Prevention and Control: Motor Vehicle Safety. Distracted Driving. March 2016. (http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/)
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety - Highway Loss Data Institute. Distractive Driving , Cell Phones and Texting. March 2016 http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/laws/cellphonelaws
The National Safety Council (NSC) has information to prevent distracted driving incidents at: http://www.nsc.org/learn/NSC-Initiatives/Pages/distracted-driving-awareness-month.aspx Scroll down for the link to request the material. It includes a distracted driving online course suitable for training.
U.S. Department of Transportation - National Highway Traffic Safety - Distracted Driving. An overview of this issue with resources. https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving
U.S. Department of Transportation - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration - Young Drivers Report the Highest Level of Phone Involvement in Crash or Near-Crash Incidences. April 2012. http://www.distraction.gov/downloads/pdfs/traffic-safety-facts-research-note-04-2012.pdf