Are you in the habit of driving blindfolded? Perhaps not literally, but this strange concept may be closer to the truth than you realize.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website on driving distractions says that the average text will take a driver’s eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds, leading to a startling conclusion — “at 55 mph, that’s like driving an entire football field blindfolded.”
As part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, police across the state will enforce a zero-tolerance policy toward drivers engaging in distracting behaviors.
University Police officers will do their part on campus during April, with targeted enforcement on April 16 and 18.
Distracted driving behaviors go far beyond cell phone use. They include eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading maps or adjusting the radio. However, NHTSA mentions that “because text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.”
Distracted driving is a serious traffic safety concern that puts everyone on the road at risk, joining speeding and alcohol as leading factors in fatal and serious injury crashes. As a result, law enforcement across California is increasingly cracking down on cell phone use and texting.
A ticket for violating either the hands-free or no texting law costs a minimum of $159, and subsequent tickets cost $279.
Drivers can take a few steps to minimize distractions:
- Turn your phone off or put it out of reach before starting the car.
- Avoid calling or texting anyone who may be driving, especially parents calling teen drivers.
- Consider using a mobile phone app that holds calls and incoming texts while driving.
- If you need to make an important call, respond to a text message, check a map, or engage in any other activity that could take your attention away from the road, pull over to a safe place to do so.