Deadly Distractions Include More Than Just Cell Phones

We’ve recently been writing about the increasing number of traffic fatalities due to distracted driving. In addition to the statistics we blogged about yesterday, a study recently found that distracted driving related accidents jumped from 4,563 in 1999 to 5,870 in 2008.

Across the nation, distracted driving awareness campaigns seem to focus on texting and handheld cell phone use, and while mobile device use is the largest distraction for drivers, it is not the only one.

Cell phone use aside, there are a number of other distractions that exist inside cars that can divert a driver’s attention from the road and contribute to distracted driving car accidents. Those alternate distractions include eating, drinking, smoking, talking to other passengers, adjusting the car radio or using other electronic devices. According to experts, any distraction that lasts longer than two seconds can potentially become a deadly one.

The arguably second-most dangerous distraction for drivers is use of iPods, MP3 players and other electronic music devices. These often have hundreds of songs on them, and scrolling through a music player to find a desired song often requires long glances away from the road. Consequently, its level of deadly distraction is distinguishably higher than adjusting the car radio, which drivers can often do without taking their eyes off the road.

Whether it is an iPod, in-dash Pandora system, other passengers or a cell phone, any distraction that takes a driver’s focus from the road can have deadly consequences. Texas drivers need to exercise caution while they drive in order to avoid such deadly distractions.

Source:, “At distracted driving forum, a focus on danger beyond ‘2 seconds’,” 3/30/12.