By: Taylor Eisenstein
The official US government website for distracted driving, distraction.gov, defines distracted driving as “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” These distractions not only affect the driver, but they can also affect passengers within the car, pedestrians, and other individuals outside the car. There are three types of distraction: visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distractions take one’s eyes off the road, manual distractions take one’s hands off the steering wheel, and cognitive distractions take one’s mind off of driving. Distractions can include activities such as texting, talking, eating and drinking, or even adjusting the radio.
Numerous technologies have been proposed and are in development to combat the distracted driving epidemic. For instance, the Textalyzer is a Breathalyzer for distracted driving. Using Textalyzer software, police officers can plug a driver’s phone to another device and determine if someone was texting at the time of an accident. New York lawmakers have proposed implementing a bill that allows the Textalyzer to be utilized in the event of a car crash. Groove by Katasi is another device that works by preventing drivers from receiving or sending text messages or emails while they are behind the wheel. An individual plugs Groove into their car, and once the car is turned on, distractions are immediately limited.
Motor vehicle injuries, in general, are deemed a “Winnable Battle” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meaning that they are a public health priority with “large-scale impact on health and known effective strategies to address them.” Perhaps all motor vehicle injuries, including those that result from distracted driving, can be prevented if efforts such as those mentioned here are successful.
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