Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system—anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.
There are three main types of distraction:
Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and
Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.
Texting is the most alarming distraction. 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.
You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.
According to a AAA poll, 94% of teen drivers acknowledge the dangers of texting and driving but 35% admitted to doing it anyway. 21% of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents were distractedby their cell phones.
In Nebraska in 2015, of the 160 traffic crashes involving cell phone distractions 43 were teen drivers and 117 were other drivers.Over the last 10 years, on average, Nebraska drivers aged 15-19 have been involved in 43 cell phone distraction crashes per year. On average, Nebraska has had more than 3,600 distracted driving crashes per year over the last 10 years.
Distractions now join alcohol and speeding as leading factors in fatal and serious injury crashes. Distracted driving accounted for approximately 10% of the total traffic crashes in Nebraska for 2015. Over the last three years, the number of Nebraska drivers involved in distracted driving crashes has increased by nearly 20%. There were 4,402 Nebraska drivers involved in distracted driving crashes in 2015 the highest number in the last 10 years.
Many states are enacting laws—such as banning texting while driving, or using graduated driver licensing systems for teen drivers—to help raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and to help prevent it from occurring. However, the effectiveness of cell phone and texting laws on decreasing distracted driving-related crashes requires further study. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety keeps track of distracted driving laws.
Nebraska is one of 46 states and the District of Columbia that instituted an all driver texting ban. Depending on the state, these laws are either enforced as primary or secondary. In 2015, Nebraska had 4,402 reported distracted driving crashes 12 of these were fatal. Nebraska law prohibits the use of a handheld wireless device to read, write, or send communication while operating a motor vehicle. Nebraska joins four states in secondary enforcement of the ban on texting, meaning the driver would not be cited for a violation unless they are charged with another violation or offense. A driver who violates the texting law can be fined $200 for first offense, $300 second offense, or $500 for subsequent offenses in addition to three points against the driver’s license.
Distracted driving is never OK. Click on the icon above and