More than 420,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents involving a distracted driver in 2012 – a nine percent jump from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011. Even more alarming, nearly 30 percent of distracted drivers in fatal crashes are in their twenties.

While texting or talking on the phone are frequently blamed in cases of distracted driving, there are many other activities that take drivers’ eyes off the road. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), describes distracted driving as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.”

In addition to using a cell phone, a list of distractions includes: eating and drinking, smoking, attending to or disciplining child passengers, grooming/makeup application, reading, using a navigation system, watching a video, adjusting a radio, CD player or temperature controls. Distracted Driving Information

With this in mind, safety experts have identified three primary types of distractions:

Manual – those in which you move your hands away from steering the vehicle. An example: reaching for a water bottle in a drink carrier.

Visual – those in which you take your eyes off the road, even for an instant. An example: you look at your radio to change the station.

Cognitive – when your mind veers from the task of driving. An example: daydreaming about an upcoming event instead of concentrating on the road.

Texting is particularly dangerous, as it involves all three distractions, simultaneously. Facts About Distracted Driving

In fact, researchers have determined that talking on a cell phone quadruples risk of an accident – about the same as drunk driving – yet the risk doubles again, to eight times normal, if you are texting.

With traffic fatalities on the increase – Distraction Information, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is cracking down on a growing problem.

As part of the DOT’s first-ever national advertising campaign and law enforcement crackdown to fight distracted driving, a series of television, radio and digital advertisements aired last months – coinciding with a nationwide law enforcement crackdown in states with distracted driving bans.

The campaign puts distracted driving “on par with our efforts to fight drunk driving or to encourage seatbelt use,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Foxx in a press release. “Across the country, we’re putting distracted drivers on notice: If you’re caught texting while driving, the message you receive won’t be from your cell phone, but from law enforcement.” Fed Crackdown on Distracted Driving

For more information on the dangers of distracted driving, visit Get The Facts

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