Distracted driving is a major threat to motorists in Florida and throughout the United States. At any given moment of the day, more than 600,000 drivers are texting, emailing or talking on their cellphones. This is a major issue, as in 2018 alone, 2,841 people lost their lives in car accidents involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Many states, including Florida, have enacted laws making it illegal to text and drive. Yet, drivers continue to engage in this deadly habit. Others distractions, such as talking to passengers in the car, passing items to people in the back seat, eating and drinking, programming the GPS and changing radio stations are dangerous as well. Yet, using cell phones while driving may have increased dangers for drivers.
Types of distraction
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three types of distractions. These include:
- Visual distractions: When drivers take their eyes off the road
- Manual distractions: When drivers remove their hands from the steering wheel
- Cognitive distractions: When drivers remove their focus from the road
A distraction may lead to delayed response times to bad weather conditions, objects in the road, other motorists, pedestrians, and traffic signals.
The dangers of cell phones
Cell phone use is especially dangerous to motorists because it incorporates all three types of distractions. Drivers take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel to manipulate their phones, type messages and pose for selfies. Furthermore, their focus during this time is not on the road at all.
The National Safety Council reports that the human brain cannot engage in two complex tasks simultaneously. Rather, it switches back and forth from one activity to the other. While the brain is focused on the cell phone conversation, texting or composing an email, it is unable to concentrate on the road.
Drivers should put away all cellular devices while behind the wheel and keep their sole focus on the road.