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It only takes a second for something tragic to happen

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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Idaho State Police want to remind drivers that it only takes a second for something tragic to happen. If you take your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel for any reason, even for just a moment, it can lead to a serious or even fatal crash. Distractions put not only the driver at risk, but their passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers as well.

According to Office of Highway Safety, Idaho Transportation Department, Statistics from 2010 to 2012 in Idaho show that:

  • Distracted driving contributed to almost 1 of every 3 Fatal or Serious Injury crashes
  • Distracted driving contributed to 28% of the economic costs of crashes
  • 80% of the fatal distracted driving crashes occurred in rural areas
  • 52% of the fatal distracted driving crashes involved a single vehicle

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

These distracting tasks can affect drivers in different ways and are categorized into the following three types:

  1. Visual - taking your eyes off the road
  2. Manual - taking your hands off the wheel
  3. Cognitive - taking your mind off the road

Idaho State Police wants everyone to make it to their destinations safely. Remember that calls, e-mails, or texts can wait.

Gauge your distraction with a simulation game.
New studies show that drivers overestimate their ability to multitask behind the wheel. This game measures how your reaction time is affected by external distractions. Regardless of your results, experts say, you should not attempt to text when driving. To find out how this game works and to play online for free click here. ( I was amazed at how poorly I drove and texted, it's good I do not make a habit of this )

For more information and resources on distracted driving visit Idaho State Police's website at https://www.isp.idaho.gov/cvs/DistractedDriving.html

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