Today’s drivers in Georgia and throughout the U.S. face innumerable distractions while behind the wheel. From fiddling with the radio to talking to other people in their vehicles and using their cell phones, these types of behaviors put drivers themselves at risk, as well as their passengers and the occupants of other vehicles on the road. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in fact, distracted driving accidents cause more than 1,000 injuries and nine deaths every day in the U.S.
Anything that draws drivers’ attention from the task of driving is a distraction. The three main types of distractions include visual, manual and cognitive distractions. Visual distractions are activities that take people’s eyes off the road, such as reading a text message or looking for something in a purse or bag. Manual distractions involve actions that take drivers’ hands off the wheel and may include changing the radio station, eating or taking a drink. Activities that take people’s minds off operating their vehicles, such as talking to a passenger or using talk-to-text features on their phones or car infotainment systems, are cognitive distractions.
Texting while behind the wheel is particularly dangerous as it is visually, manually and cognitively distracting. Reading or sending a text message takes approximately five seconds. Should they check or send a message when traveling at 55 mph, drivers cover the distance of a football field while their eyes are off the road, at least one hand is off the wheel and their attention is diverted from driving. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, using a cell phone is second only to being lost in thought as the most commonly reported type of distracted driving.