The worst thing about distracted driving accidents is that they’re totally preventable.
In 2017, there were at least 14,000 distracted driving crashes in Ohio, resulting in more than 50 fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), if you’re driving while talking on your phone, you can miss 50% of the activity around you. This “inattention blindness” can overlook pedestrians and other vehicles, and it can be deadly.
With 1.2 mobile devices for every American, distracted driving is a huge problem. In Ohio, trying to educate commuters about the dangers of distracted driving isn’t enough. So law enforcement is cracking down.
What is distracted driving?
The fact is, when you’re traveling at 60 mph, the road requires your full attention. Distracted driving includes any behavior that interferes with your attention. Some of these behaviors include:
- Going mobile. The use of mobile devices is a very common example of distracted driving. These include cell phones, GPS devices and mp3 players.
- Staying cool. Adjusting temperature controls is a distraction.
- Drinking anything. If you’re unscrewing a bottle cap or blowing on hot coffee, the road doesn’t have your full attention.
- Listening to music. If you’re listening to music on your car stereo (at a reasonable volume), fine. But if you’re listening to music with your earbuds in, you can be very distracted.
- Tending to pets. Pets in the car can be an enormous distraction. Tend to your pets after you’ve stopped the vehicle.
- Sightseeing. If you’re focusing on anything but the road in front of and around you, you’re distracted.
- Snacking. Save your snacks for your destination.
- Chatting. If you have passengers, they should aid your attention instead of distracting from it.
- Grooming. Many commuters try to save time by grooming in the car. This is a very bad idea, as most of your attention is misdirected.
In Ohio, any number of the above behaviors can result in a $100 ticket. Drivers can avoid the fine by completing a distracted driving course. Education is key here. The more educated drivers are to the dangers of distracted driving, the fewer unnecessary injuries and deaths.
Again, distracted driving is an epidemic on American roadways. It’s also a totally preventable problem. Keep your eyes on the road.