Thousands of people are killed every year in accidents involving distracted driving and cellphone use. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 23,000 people lost their lives in distracted driving accidents within a seven-year period. Everyday, distracted driving injures at least 1,000 and kills nine people.
As a result, 22 states have enacted legislation banning hand-held cellphone use while behind the wheel. Mississippi, however, has yet to follow suit.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving occurs when people focus on another task rather than keeping their concentration on the road. This includes switching the radio station, applying makeup, eating, talking with other people in the car, texting, composing an email, programming GPS systems and taking selfies.
What are the types of distracted driving?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report three main types of driver distraction, including the following:
- Cognitive distraction: Removing concentration from driving
- Visual distraction: Removing eyes off the road
- Manual distraction: Removing hands off the steering wheel
Hands-free cellphones incorporate all three types of distraction. Not only do they cause manual distractions, as drivers must take their hands off the wheel to send a text, hold their cellphones or snap a selfie, but they require drivers to take their eyes off the road.
Most importantly, cellphones remove drivers’ focus from the road. The National Safety Council reports that when the mind cannot focus on two complex tasks simultaneously, but rather jumps back and forth from one task to the other. This leaves moments where the driver is not concentrating on the road at all, leaving room for a major accident to occur.