SummaryStudies have shown that people are limited in the amount of information they can process at any one time. To accommodate the multiple demands that occur during driving, people are forced to shift their attention back and forth. It only takes a moment of diverted attention to miss important visual and audio cues on the road, which is what makes distracted driving so dangerous. There are three main types of distracted driving:
Visual — taking your eyes off the road
Manual — taking your hands off the wheel
Cognitive — taking your mind off the task of driving
While many recent campaigns focus on cell phone use, traditional interruptions such as changing the music, eating, or settling arguments between children can be just as distracting, and just as deadly. Distractions can be taken care of later—your life must be taken care of now. Keep yourself and your passengers safe by keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road at all times.
Maryland Fast Facts
- In 2008, a total of 34 persons lost their lives and 11,578 persons were injured in 24,769 inattentive driver-involved crashes.
- In 2008, 75% of drivers killed in inattentive driving crashes were males.
- In 2008, 32% of the total inattentive driver-related crashes involved rear-end collisions.
- Distracted driving is a factor in 1 out of 4 crashes nationally.
- In 2008, nearly 6,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million were injured.
- The proportion of drivers reportedly distracted at the time of a fatal crash has increased from 8 percent in 2004 to 11 percent in 2008.
- More than 800,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone at any given moment during daylight hours.
- Research shows drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.
|New Cell Phone Law Effective October, 2010:
Maryland Senate Bill 321 has been signed into law by Governor O'Malley. The new law will prohibit all Maryland drivers from using a Cell Phone without a Hands Free Device while operating a motor vehicle. The fine for a first offense would be $40 and subsequent offenses would be $100. The new law would be a secondary offense, meaning that a driver must first be committing a primary offense such as speeding or reckless driving before they could be ticketed for a Cell Phone offense. The new law is scheduled to go into effect in October, 2010.
|New Texting Law Effective October 1, 2009:
Prohibits a person from using a text messaging device to write or send a text message while operating a motor vehicle in motion or in the travel portion of the roadway; specifying exceptions for use of a global positioning system, or text messaging to contact a 9-1-1 system; etc. The Maryland law makes the activity a misdemeanor crime. A civil penalty will be imposed and a fine of not more than $500.00 can be enforced if convicted.
Campaigns:National Sleep Awareness Week
This national campaign effort provides resource materials, press releases and e-news updates. Partners are encouraged to forward safety message via email.SHA Distracted Driving Efforts:
Upper Chesapeake Region CTSP Distracted Driving Efforts:
The SHA has disseminated over 38,000 informative Texting Citation Cards to Community Traffic Safety Program’s (CTSP) nearly 100 high schools, government agencies, T-SAFE partners, and public libraries. Approximately 180 public libraries in the state received 200 Texting Citation Cards totaling 36,000 cards distributed statewide in 2009.
The Inattentive Driving Program Coordinator distributed a large amount of the “Being Inattentive” tip card, eye glass repair kits, and the Choose Safety for Life campaign material. A “Fast, Furious Finished” busback advertisement was placed on Frederick County Buses for a three month span.
Materials were distributed at events illustrating the dangers of inattentive driving in addition to an article published in the Carroll County Times.
The CTSP, along with Students against Destructive Decisions members at two high schools, have worked together with young drivers to educate them on distracted driving. The CTSP includes this information when presenting at the commercial driving schools along with “Alive at 25” presentations.Washington Metro Region Initiatives:
Inattentive driving in the region was tackled through educational outreach and distribution of materials. Task Force members distributed educational brochures at local events throughout the year. Inattentive driving was included in several campaigns throughout the region. In Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, emphasis and media dialogue centered on the no texting legislation past this year.Talbot County Efforts:
The Talbot County Highway Safety Office provided local media with a press release concerning drowsy driving. Additionally, the newspaper featured an editorial about drowsy driving.
Tips to Stay Focused on the Road:
- Pull off the road to a safe area if you must make or receive a call.
- Ask a passenger to make or take a call for you.
- Do not engage in stressful or emotional conversations while driving.
- Avoid eating while driving. Finishing your breakfast on the way to work or school may seem like a time-saver, but it means you are less attentive to the drivers around you. Food spills are a major cause of distraction.
- Pull safely off the road and out of traffic to care for or manage children.
- Review maps and driving directions before hitting the road.
- Do your personal grooming at home - not in the car.
- Do not drive if you are drowsy, even if it means reworking your scheduled plans.
- If you are traveling with pets, do not allow them to sit in your lap.