Toolbox Talks "What is Distrated Driving?" October 8, 2015

What Is Distracted Driving?

There are three main types of distraction:

  • Visual - taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual - taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive - taking your mind off what you're doing

Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing.

While all distractions can endanger drivers' safety, texting is the most alarming because it involves all three types of distraction.

Distracting activities include:

  • Using a cell phone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a PDA or navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Changing the radio station, CD, or Mp3 player.

Research on distracted driving reveals some surprising facts:

  • An estimated 20 percent of 1.5 million injury crashes were reported to have involved distracted driving in 2009.
  • Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashes, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction (18% of fatalities in distraction-related crashes).
  • In 2009, 5,474 people were killed on U.S. roadways and an estimated 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving.
  • The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group - 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving.
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.
  • Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it's hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.

Current Laws

While Idaho has no current laws banning the use of handheld phones or texting, several of the surrounding states do have laws as indicated below:

 

Oregon

  • Handheld ban for all drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Secondary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

Note: Oregon defines novice drivers as all drivers under the age of 18.

Utah

  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)
  • Utah's law defines careless driving as committing a moving violation (other than speeding) while distracted by use of a handheld cell phone or other activities not related to driving

Washington

  • Handheld ban for all drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary law)
  • Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary law)

Note: Washington defines novice drivers as those with a learner's permit or in the intermediate state.  

Make sure you arrive ALIVE! Avoid these distractions while driving a vehicle.

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