Distracted Driving a Leading Cause of Crashes
March 4, 2003 (03-025)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact:
Rosalie Thornburgh or Pati Pomeroy
KDOT Bureau of Traffic Safety: (785) 296-3756
Talk to almost anyone who has been in a traffic crash and they’re likely
to begin: “It happened so fast.”
Indeed, just a split second distraction can lead to a disaster on today’s
often-crowded roadways, according to the Bureau of Traffic Safety of the Kansas
Department of Transportation.
That makes concentration on the task at-hand – driving – imperative.
While multi-tasking might be a valuable trait in a workplace, it doesn’t
lend itself to driving.
According to a recent study by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety
Research Center funded by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, each year an
estimated 284,000 distracted drivers are involved in serious crashes. Distracted
driving is believed to be a factor in up to 50 percent of accidents.
Common distractions cited in the study were adjusting a radio or CD player,
talking with other occupants in the car, adjusting temperature controls, eating
or drinking, talking on cell phones and smoking. Disciplining children, rummaging
through purses, searching on the floorboard for a dropped item, studying a map
or reading also are common distractions.
The Bureau of Traffic Safety offers these tips to discourage distracted driving:
- When possible, pull over to use a cell phone. If you must talk on
a cell phone while driving, consider purchasing a hands-free system.
- Driving with your stereo cranked to a high volume can prevent a
driver from hearing sirens or the honks of other drivers. Play your stereo
at a moderate volume, and memorize your stereo controls so you don't have
to look at it when changing stations.
- Before you drive, make sure there are no loose items under the seats
– such as cans or bottles -- that could roll out and possibly get lodged
under the brake pedal if you come to a quick stop.
- If you must eat while you drive, get something that’s not
messy and that you can hold in one hand. Set your food up next to you before
you take off and make sure you use a cup holder for your drink.
More information can be found on the Public Service Announcements page.