Distractions now join alcohol and speeding as leading factors in fatal and serious injury crashes. More than one in four motor vehicle crashes involve cell phone use at the time of the crash. A driver’s response to sudden hazards, such as another driver’s behavior, weather conditions, work zones, animals or objects in the roadway, often is the critical factor between a crash and a near-crash. When the brain is experiencing an increased workload, such as driving and using a cell phone, the information processing slows and a driver is much less likely to respond to unexpected hazards in time to avoid a crash.
The National Safety Council estimates the following about crashes involving cell phone use in 2012:
21% of all crashes or 1.2 million crashes involved talking on handheld and hands-free cell phones.
5% percent or more crashes or a minimum of 281,000 of crashes involved text messaging.
A minimum total of 26% of crashes involved drivers talking and texting on cell phones.
The National Safety Council, Nebraska is working hard to end this epidemic with a three pronged approach; education, outreach, and advocacy. The National Safety Council has committed a great deal of time and resources to the science behind distracted driving. An excellent resource is "Understanding the Distracted Brain."
Distracted driving prevention programs use classroom and hands-on simulators to educate on the dangers of cell phone use while driving - hands-free or handheld. Collaborations with media partners, insurance companies, and other organizations help reach a larger number of drivers.
Advocacy is necessary to let Nebraska lawmakers know NSCN and many Nebraskans support stricter laws and tougher penalties. Experts from National Safety Council, Nebraska often testify before the legislature on bills concerning roadway safety. To contact your state senator, start here.
The following resources are available for schools, groups, and businesses:
Portable distracted driving simulator
Employee training program
Workplace policy development
Lunch and learn presentations
Educational videos, posters, promotional items, and brochures
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