Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Real Facts Behind Distracted Driving

With all of the distractions of modern life - the iPads, iPods and cell phones - it is difficult to avoid the temptation of using these devices while driving. What's the harm of sending a few texts while you drive? What's wrong with checking your next turn on the Google Maps page loaded on your laptop? Today, Everything Insurance will examine the real facts behind distracted driving.

The truth is regardless of how safe you may think you are, statistics show that you are putting yourself and those around you at an increased risk of collision when you are distracted. According to studies by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 25-30% of collisions are caused by distracted drivers. This includes people doing their makeup, changing the track on their iPod, eating or drinking, dealing with their children, reading maps, and, of course, texting or calling on their cell phones. 

With such strong data suggesting a link between distracted driving and higher rates of collisions, it is no wonder that the Alberta government is taking legislative steps to prevent distracted driving. Sometime this year, the Traffic Safety (Distracted Driving) Amendment Act will be put into place, giving powers to the police to charge fines as high as $172 for those found to be driving while distracted.

According to the act, distracted driving can mean anything from personal grooming to entering information into a GPS Unit. The government is quick to suggest that this will not "penalize drivers for taking a sip of coffee, chatting with passengers or blowing their nose." They are interested in those who "decide to put themselves and others at risk by watching movies, browsing for and downloading 'apps', apply makeup or shaving all while trying to navigate through traffic."

So before you decide to crack that new level on Angry Birds while coasting down a relatively straight patch of road, remember that your loss of focus will reduce your reaction time, thus putting everyone on the road at risk. Moreover, you may be fined under new legislation and to the tune of $172. Do what's best for you and the people around you, put down your electronic device and focus on the road!


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