We have to admit: even though we inherently sense the risk, distracted driving can all too easily become common practice. Since we’re always looking to make our community a better, safer place, April—being Distracted Driving Awareness Month—is the perfect time to raise awareness and implement new habits.
DUI of Inattention
There’s an automatic connection between distraction and mobile technology, and while that’s a huge part of the national problem, the catalog of distracting activities is many and varied. In fact, when you come down to it, the act of driving itself is “by its nature a task of divided attention,” a “perfect storm of visual, manual, and cognitive distraction.” From the word go, we’re inherently distracted, paying attention to speed, weather and road conditions, surrounding traffic, peripheral activity, lighting, pedestrians, wildlife, etc.—so many things are out of our hands. All the more reason then, to take control of the variables we can affect, and recognize the depth of danger that’s right at our fingertips. Because more than a mere fender bender or legal consequences, we’re talking about potentially serious injury, even death; The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) collection of poignant videos brings home the dangers. Nationwide, communities are losing and forever altering lives by the thousands, every year. To break it down to the everyday, the CDC helps us out with this sobering stat: “Each day in the United States, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.”
From daydreaming or a phone conversation, to changing clothes and bizarre personal care routines, just about anything you can imagine is happening behind wheels out there. Still, regardless of the distraction, the result is the same: “inattention blindness, similar to that of tunnel vision” narrows the field and shuts off conscious awareness of our surroundings. That sort of blindness is plenty dangerous when we’re walking down a sidewalk, let alone operating a multi-ton hunk of metal. Still not convinced? Researchers and surveys find that driving distracted is just as bad as—possibly worse than—driving under the influence of alcohol. If you’re a see-it-to-believe-it sort of person, check out MythBusters’ road test for undeniable proof of the dangers.
The conclusion? Realistically, the person next to, behind, or in front of you on the road could be the next perpetrator in a distracted driving-related accident. And on any average, busy day, so could you. But from our vantage point, carelessness isn’t so much to blame. Instead, we’re honing in on the real culprits: time management and our increasingly demanding lives. Induced to cram so much into our daily schedules, along with pervading cultural pressures to endlessly multi-task is a sure formula for heightened distraction. But let’s be clear: no so-called “emergency” can ever justify threatening lives. And we aren’t alone in our feelings. In fact, 94% of Americans agree that distracted driving is dangerous. Now the struggle is to get everyone on the same page, ready to apply what they already know to be true. Of course, applying knowledge is often the most difficult step. Here’s where an ally can help.
Together We Drive
Distraction is a fact of life in our hyper-connected world; and it’s not going anywhere. So it’s up to each of us to do our best to educate ourselves and our loved ones about the very real dangers of distracted driving. It’s a commitment we at Zinc have made to each other, our families, and to our community—doing our part to help make Broadview Heights a safe place to live, work, and play. Won’t you join us? We’re ready to drive alongside you, taking experts’ suggestions and pledging, as a team, to end distracted driving in our own spheres of influence. Once we get those wheels in motion, there’s no telling how far they’ll travel.
Follow hashtag #justdrive for Distracted Driving info. — via https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving#2801 “In 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed, and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.” — https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving