Vehicles were made for transportation, serving as a way to get passengers
safely from point A to point B. However, with our busy lives and over-full
schedules we often treat them like a sort of mobile dining room/bathroom/office combo.
Driving demands are full attention requiring the use of our visual, auditory,
manual and cognitive skills. According to the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration, distracted driving is any activity that diverts
attention from driving. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention
9 people are killed every day in the U.S. as a result of a crash involving a distracted driver.
Texting and Driving
“Most people think ‘texting’ when hear the words ‘distracted
driving’ and it is the most alarming distraction,” said Elayne
Sinclair, Safe Kids Coordinator at Catawba Valley Medical Center.“Sending
or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph,
that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your
eyes closed. If someone asked you to close your eyes for five seconds
while driving you would think they were crazy, yet people do this every
day.” What’s even scarier is that, according to the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), at any given moment, about
660,000 drivers are handling cell phones or other electronic devices while
driving in the USA.
What are the rules for texting and driving in North Carolina?
According to the DMV website, all drivers in North Carolina are banned
from texting while their vehicle is in motion. This means that they are
not allowed to compose, read or send text messages or e-mails while driving.
This includes while stopped at traffic lights and stop signs. If your
car is in drive – you are driving!
Distracted driving poses a risk to everyone on the road and remains a significant
contributor to motor vehicle crashes. According to the NHTSA, driver distraction
is a factor in approximately 16% of crashes. In 2015, 3,477 people were
killed, and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
What are other forms of distracted driving?
- Eating and/or drinking
- Talking to and interacting with passengers, including children
- Adjusting the stereo, entertainment or navigation system
- Grooming (this includes makeup application)
- Reaching for items while driving
Are you guilty of driving distracted? It’s never too late to change
your habits and it’s never too early to start teaching the new or
soon-to-be drivers the importance of being full present when driving and
the seriousness of the consequences if they aren’t.
Safe kids Catawba County works with area high schools offering a distracted
driving presentation for students in Driver’s Ed. Our hope is that
we can educate these young drivers before they start to develop bad habits.
Safe kids is also part of a Distracted Driving Initiative sponsoring a
competition at all high schools using the EverDrive App. EverDrive is
a free mobile app that enables users to measure and improve their driving
skills. I challenge you all to download this app and see if you are as
attentive a driver as you think you are.
For more information or resources on distracted driving you can contact
Elayne Sinclair or visit the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.