Distraction is defined by NHTSA as a specific type of inattention that occurs when drivers divert their attention away from the task of driving to focus on another activity instead. These distractions can be electronic distractions, such as navigation systems and cell phones, or more conventional distractions, such as interacting with passengers and eating. These distracting tasks can affect drivers in different ways and are categorized into the following three types:
- Visual - taking your eyes off the road;
- Manual - taking your hands off the wheel; and
- Cognitive - taking your mind off the road.
Research conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) in 2006 reported that, "Nearly 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event. The primary cause of driver inattention in this major study included such distracting activities as cell phone use and factors that significantly increase risk such as reaching for a moving object (a 9 times greater risk) and drowsiness (4 times greater)." Distracted driving caused by the use of a cell phone or any other electronic device to make a phone call, text a message, read email messages, manipulate music files or search for direction information is an ever growing concern.
Effective July, 2010, Distracted Driving became a focus area in the Idaho Transportation Department's Strategic Highway Safety Plan.
Distracted Driving Fatal and Serious Injury Crashes in Idaho: 2009-2011
- Distracted driving contributed to more than 1 of every 4 crashes.
- Distracted driving contributed to 30% of the economic costs of crashes.
- 78% of the fatal distracted driving crashes occurred in rural areas.
- 52% of the fatal distracted driving crashes involved a single vehicle.
Idaho High School Distracted Driving Program
Distracted Driving Fact Sheet
Distracted Driving Game Links