Now, more than ever, there are a million things that distract us when we are driving. The radio, our phones and our kids! Taking your eye off the road for just a second can be fatal for you, a pedestrian or fellow motorist.
While in Texas last month with Cooper Tire, I had the chance to do a distracted driving course with a professional driver and a couple pesky little passengers that were ‘bossing me around’ – just like my own kids do – as part of the exercise.
It wasn’t until I was in the car, and going through the course that I realized how many things I instinctively do while driving.
According to CAA, children are four times more distracting than adults as passengers, and infants are eight times more distracting than adults as passengers. I agree! And often don’t think twice about changing the DVD, grabbing snack from my purse or breaking up a back seat brawl.
Check out the video of me on the course below. Note that one of my passengers is shooting Nerf Darts at me and hurling stuffies at the windshield. And of course, it started to rain…
My exercise was just fun, but in real life things can get real when you are sharing the road with hundreds of other distracted drivers. In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an additional, 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in that same year.
What’s the biggest distraction? Your phone! ‘Drivers engaged in text messaging on a cellular phone are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers.’ – CAA
While at the event I met 19-year-old Tristan Nunez, Mazda’s Indy Lights driver, who has made it his mission to create more awareness about texting and driving.
‘11% of all drivers under 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.’ NHSTA, 2012
For the past few years, Tristan has traveling around the United States visiting high schools, speaking to students about the dangers of driving while texting. Did you know that 60% of drivers use cell phones while driving? That’s a crazy stat.
In April he teamed up with Cooper Tire to raise awareness about the distracted driving epidemic. A video he did last year highlights this:
As parents it’s important to set a good example. So put your phone on silent, throw it in your purse/glove box, or designate someone else in the car to do your texting if you need to send a message.