Erin Gillis: Safety Moment

Safety Moment
Distracted Driving
Distracted Driving Risks
• Driver distraction is a factor in about 4 million motor vehicle
crashes in North America every year (CAA).
• 84% of distracted-driving-related fatalities in the US were tied to
the general classification of carelessness or inattentiveness (CAA).
• Cell phones are one of the most common distractions for drivers. It
gets even more alarming – when texting and driving you are as
impaired for the moment you are on a cellphone or texting device
as someone who is just over the legal level for impairment from
alcohol (NL Injury Prevention Coalition).
Common Distractions
• Although NL is a leader in hands-free legislation (first province in
Canada to introduce laws), distracted driving is still a serious reality in
our hyper-connected world.
• Examples: Texting, phone calls, email, social media, grooming,
radio/CD/iPod, GPS, eating/drinking, adjusting climate control.
• Texting may be the most dangerous distraction because it involves
simultaneous manual, visual and cognitive diversion. Drivers engaged
in text messaging are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash
or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers (CAA).
Tips to Avoid Distractions
• Take a message. Let your phone pick up your calls and text
messages. It’s easy and much safer to listen to voicemail or respond
to texts later. Remember – It Can Wait.
• Ask your passengers. If there is someone else in the vehicle, let
them make and receive calls and texts for you.
• Plan to avoid distraction. Turn your cellular device on silent or
place in your coat pocket or the glove box, so you won’t be tempted
to talk, email or text when you’re driving.
• Stay calm. Don’t participate in emotionally charged conversations
while on the road.
Tips to Avoid Distractions
• Check the facts: Familiarize yourself with common misconceptions
(i.e. “Can I text at a stoplight?” “Is it safe to use speakerphone?”) so
you know what’s safe and legal.
• Make calls before you drive. Place any pressing phone calls before
leaving the parking lot, office or home. Otherwise, wait until you
arrive at your destination.
• Pull over to place or receive a call. If you must place or receive a call
while in your car, find a safe location and pull over to the side of the
road. Make sure you’re safely off to the side so you’re not posing a
danger to other vehicles.
Tips to Avoid Distractions
• Finish your grooming before heading out on the road. Don’t rely
on your commute to floss, apply makeup or fix your hair.
• Plan your route before leaving. If you get lost, pull over to a
safe/legal parking spot to program your GPS or check a map. This
will help you avoid stress and distractions.
• Make sure your children are comfortable and correctly secured in
child restraint devices. If your child is crying or distraught, park
safely before focusing on their needs. Kids are safest when you’re
concentrated on the road
CAA Distracted Driving Simulator
• When you take your eyes off
the road or are distracted from
the primary task of driving,
how much are you missing?
Use this interactive driving
scenario simulator to find out.
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