Saturday, March 24, 2007
DWD - Driving While Distracted
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission, 500,000 drivers a day are talking on handheld cell phones while they drive. The National Mutual Insurance Company reported 73% of the people they surveyed talked on phones while driving and 19% of motorists did text messaging while driving. Driving and talking on hand held phones make us 4X more likely to have a serious crash. It is debatable whether hand free talking is much better because of the distraction factor. Other serious distractions are reaching for a falling cup, reaching for CDs or music or just about anything in the glove box or disciplining the kids or even rubber necking as we pass something of interest.
Although all drivers can be distracted by anything that goes on inside the car, clearly digging for a ringing cell phone, tucked in a purse or pocket has got to be numero uno for big time road attention lapse. I can always tell when I am behind a cell phone driver. They are speeding up or slowing down or creeping over the lane line. Sometimes they don't see the light change or they turn abruptly in front of me.
California passed a bill banning handheld cell phone use while driving that goes into effect July 2008. California will be the fourth state with such a ban after Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. D.C. also has such a ban but most of our politicos are being chauffeured when they talk on the phone so no problem.
I personally use an ear cord when I drive and talk and that makes me feel like I am not DWD. Maybe I should have one of those bumper stickers that says " Call and tell me how I'm driving".
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 11:33 PM