Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person is doing while driving that has the potential to distract them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver distraction is the leading factor in most crashes. Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involve some form of distraction within three seconds before the event. In Kentucky in 2014, there were over 53,500 crashes resulting in over 14,000 injuries and 169 fatalities due to distracted driving.
There are three main types of distractions.
- Visual — taking your eyes off the road
- Manual — taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive — taking your mind off what you’re doing
Come distractions include reaching for an object, using music controls, talking to passengers, reading or writing, eating, drinking, smoking, grooming, pets and using electronics.
While all three of these distractions can endanger drivers’ safety, texting is the worst offender because it involves all three! In the state of Kentucky, it is illegal for drivers who are under the age of 18 to use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. This includes both hands free and handheld devices. It is illegal for drivers of all ages to text while the vehicle is in motion, which includes instant messaging and emailing.