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Distracted driving is a 100 preventable epidemic

Many Boulder area residents drive every day. For many, the daily commute to work or school is often viewed as routine and mundane. It’s often while driving familiar routes, however, that drivers fail to remain vigilant and may engage in distracting behaviors or activities. Today more than ever, drivers are subject to numerous distractions while operating a motor vehicle. Actions such as turning the radio station and tending to a child in the backseat have long been recognized as distracting and dangerous behaviors to engage in while driving. Today, in addition to the more traditional distracted driving behaviors, cellphones serve as a major distracter for drivers and are often the cause of many car accidents.

Five seconds. That’s the short timeframe it takes for a car traveling at a normal highway speed to travel the distance of a football field. It’s also, unfortunately, the duration of time that many drivers take their eyes off the road to text on or check their cellphones. A lot can happen in that short amount of time. A pedestrian can dart across the road, a car can brake suddenly or a traffic light can turn red. In cases where a driver is distracted, he or she may cause or be involved in a serious or fatal accident.

While it’s estimated that, during 2012 alone, more than 3,000 people died from distracted driving, the actual number of deaths attributable to distracted driving was likely much higher. Police officers and accident investigators are not always able to determine the exact cause of a fatal car accident. Likewise, national statistics related to the number of drivers cited for distracted driving are also likely underestimated as a driver who is looking at their cellphone may be cited for improper lane change or following too closely rather than distracted driving.

Every time a driver gets behind the wheel of a car or truck, it’s imperative that his or her full attention is on the act of driving. This means drivers should put away cellphones and refrain from engaging in other activities that take attention and focus off of driving. Drivers who fail to follow this advice may one day have to live with the fact that a bad song or silly text message is the reason an individual was seriously injured or killed.

Source: KJCT8.com, “All eyes on distracted driving,” Lindsey Pallares, May 21, 2014

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