According to distraction.gov, in 2012, 3,328 people were killed in accidents caused by distracted driving, and 421,000 were injured. With the constant advancement of technology and connecting ourselves to the world around us, it seems that those numbers will only increase.
However, distracted driving does not only pertain to the use of mobile devices; according to Deputy Joshua Dubin of the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Department, any form of activity while operating a motor vehicle that results in hazardous driving constitutes under distracted driving, and will result in a citation.
“Things like eating, grooming and putting on makeup are just as bad as texting,” said Dubin. “People think just because your eyes are on the road it means your focus is as well- that’s not at all true. When you’re doing all of these other things that require your brain’s attention, you’re putting your, and everyone else’s life, at risk.”
With April being distracted driving awareness month, it seems that there is no better time for the California Highway Patrol to crack down on distracted driving.
“If the risk of losing your life isn’t enough to prevent distracted driving, we’re hoping that the threat of a pricey ticket is,” Dubin said.
“It’s something people really have to start taking seriously. If you’re driving, you’re driving, and that’s all that you should be doing.”
While the advancement of car technology is designed to enhance our focus while driving, it is technology itself that is taking our attention away from the road.
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles website, there are three types of distractions that occur while driving: cognitive, visual and manual.
Cognitive distractions include talking to other passengers or listening to the radio. Visual distractions occur when the driver looks somewhere other than the road, such as at a cell phone or a navigation system. Manual distractions happen any time when the driver takes one or both hands off the wheel.