Do not drive distracted

This week I have been blogging about taking care of yourself and how focusing on those activities that are healthy for you positively impacts those you love.  I had a post prepared for today that I chose to save for a later date.  An article in the WSJ on the traffic fatality surge in the first six months of 2016 prompted me to blog about distracted drivers.  What better way to do something that matters not just to you, but to so many others. including those you love and those you do not even know.  Do not drive distracted!

Back in May, I did some blog posts on the causes behind accidental deaths. Opioid use is attributed as a primary cause of overdoses with the addictive painkiller causing 13,486 deaths in 2014. The National Safety Council (NSC) revealed that drug overdose overtook car crashes as the top cause of accidental deaths in 2014.  Reducing motor vehicle crash deaths was one of the great public health achievements of the 20th century in the United States. It is too early to pinpoint the specific reasons behind the increase in the traffic fatalities, but the speculation is that it is in large part due to distracted drivers.

“Traffic deaths rose 10.4% in the first half, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Wednesday, a steep increase following a surprising uptick in fatalities last year.”  The U.S. logged more than 17,700 traffic fatalities in the first six months of 2016, regulators estimated. The increase recorded between January and June far outpaces the 3.3% increase in miles traveled on U.S. roads over the same period, according to the Federal Highway Administration.” from US Traffic Deaths Up Sharpley in First Half of the Year WSJ 10/6/16
And from the CDC:

Drivers and passengers should:

  • Use a seat belt in every seat, on every trip, no matter how short.
  • Make sure children are always properly buckled in the back seat in a car seat, booster seat, or seat belt, whichever is appropriate for their age, height, and weight.
  • Choose not to drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs, and help others do the same.
  • Obey speed limits.
  • Drive without distractions (such as using a cell phone or texting).

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:

  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone or smart phone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

But, because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.

The best way to end distracted driving is to educate all Americans about the danger it poses. On this page, you’ll find facts and statistics that are powerfully persuasive. If you don’t already think distracted driving is a safety problem, please take a moment to learn more. And, as with everything on, please share these facts with others. Together, we can help save lives.

So what causes so many drivers to feel they can take their eyes and mind off the road?

There’s a simple but dangerous answer: complacency.

I do not text while driving or have hands-free conversations while driving.   I now pledge to never do another hands-free iPhone video while taking a “joy ride”, even if it is on a road with very little traffic!

What will you pledge to refrain from doing while driving that is a distraction?



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