ROCHESTER, N.Y. – We don’t need researchers or studies to tell us that driver distractions are at an all-time high. Drivers today have more gizmos and gadgets inside their cars than ever before and heavy rush-hour traffic doesn’t help a waning attention span either.
What you may not know is that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds can raise the risk of an accident up to 24 times. According to new research, simple tasks like eating a cheeseburger, sipping a drink, smoking, or adjusting the radio can cause severe and sometimes deadly crashes.
“Texting and driving is one of the worst distractions for drivers on the road today. It’s been shown to be just as dangerous as being drunk behind the wheel and police records show many drivers are texting while behind the wheel in Rochester,” car accident attorney Ross Cellino said.
The study of 3,000 teenage drivers found that interactive presentations can be a more effective way to raise awareness than in traditional classroom environments. Researchers suggest teenagers taking driving classes will often listen passively and therefore, do not grasp the seriousness of distracted driving.
“You might think it’s not going to happen to you,” Cellino said. “When an accident happens, it can be too late; education and awareness are some ways we can avoid these collisions right now.”
The study, administered by Oregon State University, most notably found that “hands-free” devices are no safer than a hand-held cell phone. Researchers say the real distraction is the person on the phone, who is not in the car and oblivious to the traffic ahead.
Women were also noted to be more likely to use a cell phone while driving, and men are more likely to look away from the road while talking to others in the car.
Researchers concluded that increased driver training is crucial in the quest to curb distracted driving.