You’ve probably heard it on the news, read it on public service announcements, and been told it by countless people: Don’t text and drive. And, absolutely, don’t text and drive. But, it’s important to realize that distracted driving isn’t the same as texting and driving, distracted driving is much more.
The most common form of distracted driving is actually eating or drinking while driving, not texting. Even talking to a passenger, rerouting a GPS, or talking on the phone via a handsfree system can be considered distracted driving. In short, it’s anything that takes your eyes or mind off of the road.
When your eyes leave the road for even a few seconds, it increases your risk of a collision by 3x or more. The average text distracts a driver for 5 seconds, long enough to travel the length of a football field if the driver is traveling at 55mph.
According to distraction.gov, as many as 660,000 U.S. drivers are using a cell phone or other electronic device while driving at any given moment. Texting while driving is banned in 46 stats and 14 states ban any kind of in-hand cell phone use. An officer that sees you texting and/or using a cell phone in one of those states can cite you for just that and no other reason.