Eating, putting on makeup and texting while driving are examples of distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes in 2012, with 3,328 people killed.
Because text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention, the NHTSA considers texting the most alarming form of distracted driving. Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. Reaching for a phone, dialing, texting and other uses of mobile devices can increase your risk of getting in a crash by three times.
Tips to prevent distracted driving
Put your phone out of reach, such as in the glove box, back seat or trunk.
Pull over and park safely if you need to use your phone to talk or text.
Make a pledge to your family to never text or talk on the phone while driving.
As a passenger, speak up if the driver starts texting or talking on his phone.
As a parent, give teen drivers simple, clear instructions not to use their wireless devices while driving. Before new drivers get their licenses, discuss how taking their eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, could cause injury or death. Create a parent-and-teen driving contract with rules and consequences for breaking the rules.
Sources: Governors Highway Safety Association, www.ghsa.org, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Transportation, www.stoptextsstopwrecks.org and www.distraction.gov.