What is Distracted Driving?

April 12, 2016

What is Distracted Driving?

Stay safe and be aware of what distracted driving is

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month! Perhaps you’re already an advocate for distracted driving awareness, or maybe you’ve never even heard of Distracted Driving Awareness Month. It’s possible you’ve heard of distracted driving, or of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and wondered, “What is distracted driving?” Either way, if you drive - or ride in cars that have a driver - you ought to be informed. This month, in support of the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Administration’s campaign, Urgent.ly is working to raise awareness and educate our community about distracted driving, it’s dangers, and it’s consequences.

The Official US Government Website for Distracted Driving says:

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:

  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

Clearly, these are only a sample of common activities that distract drivers. And it’s likely that almost all of us are guilty of having engaged in at least one of these activities - even changing the radio station takes your hand off the wheel, and perhaps even your mind and/or eyes off the road. However, texting or otherwise utilizing a cell phone is considered an especially dangerous activity to engage in behind the wheel.

The U.S. Department of Transportation identified 3 major types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. The act of texting requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, pulling that focus and those skills off of the road. The average time a driver’s eyes are off the road while texting is 5 seconds. When travelling at 55 miles per hour, that’s long enough to cover the length of a football field. A lot can happen in 120 yards.

Think about the way that you drive: Do you text or talk on the phone? How about eating, doing your makeup or your hair, or reading while driving? If you participate in any of these activities - or many others - behind the wheel, you’re a distracted driver. What about the other drivers you’ve ridden with, or even just other people you see on the road? When you start to look around, you’ll notice the prevalence of distracted driving. At any given moment, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or electronic devices while driving.

If you’re ready to join the fight to end distracted driving, take the Urgent.ly pledge* to drive phone-free today. Find out more about distracted driving by checking out our campaign, or the U.S. Department of Transportation’s distracted driving site.