Distracted Driving the New DUI: You Can’t Safely Multitask

Posted June 27, 2011 in Driving & Motor Vehicles by Arthur Buono

A couple of months ago my neighbor had a serious car accident. She was stopped at a red light when a texting teen plowed into her from behind at 35 miles an hour. Without braking. Distracted driving is the new DUI. That’s got the National Transportation Safety Board worried. In an era when communications multitasking is commonplace, can we assure our safety when traveling?

  • Distracted driving may reach epidemic proportions
  • Common tasks we take as second nature a hazard to safe driving
  • Keep yourself and others safe while driving your car
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Distracted Driving Due to Texting, Other Tasks

barge and boat

Last year a barge collided with a tour boat in Philadelphia, killing two sightseers and sending 35 others into the Delaware river. The barge pilot was talking on his cell phone at the time. He’d had over 20 calls or texts in the two hours he was on duty.

The head of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recently said cars aren’t smartphones on wheels. He’s pushing back against auto manufacturers, who want to put lots of popular (and for them, profitable) communications gadgets into new car models. We’re facing an epidemic of distracted driving.

What can you do to make sure you’re not distracted? Can you safeguard yourself from distracted drivers? Start by knowing what’s a distraction:

  • Texting while driving
  • Answering cell phones – even hands-free enabled
  • Checking maps, screwing around with your Garmin
  • Old-school multitasking – eating a breakfast sandwich, makeup touch-ups
  • Go to the Federal Communication Commission’s Texting While Driving site for more

What to do:

  • Just say no – have a no texting policy you obey and enforce on your kids and persons you ride with
  • Know the law – it’s illegal now in many states to use a cell phone in any way while driving except hands free
  • Check the distracted driving clearinghouse for more

Related Apps for Your Smartphone*

DriveSafe.ly – Hands-free text manager, with autorespond, for safe(r?), more efficient driving. Free
Auto Accidents – What to do after an auto accident. $0.99
Blood Alcohol Concentrate Calculator – Check your BAC before you drive. $0.99
iLocate – Find a bail bondsman on the go. $.99

*Please note that these apps are for informational purposes only, and neither LexisNexis nor Lawyers.com endorses these apps or accepts liability for their use.

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