Distraction Free Friday: What’s Distracted Driving To You?

By Melanie Batenchuk
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Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Did you know that you’re 23 times more likely to crash your car when texting and driving? Those are pretty high odds for any driver. Now think about a novice driver, who has logged few hours behind the wheel, staring that statistic in the face.

In a 2011 survey of 6,000 young drivers over the age of 18 by the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA), respondents reported they found talking on their phones while driving had no negative impact on their driving ability. Drivers under 35 were even more confident, pushing up that statistic to 60 percent. Only 25 percent of those surveyed were as convinced about the impact of sending a text while driving.

“About 20 percent of young drivers 18 to 20 years old thought sending text messages or e-mails made no difference on their driving, compared to 27 to 29 percent for drivers 21 to 34.”

 – NHTSA Telephone Survey, December 2011

Most of us think we’re exceptional drivers, but sometimes it’s better to be honest with ourselves. Distraction.gov cites three types of distraction when operating a vehicle: manual, visual, and cognitive.

It’s time to ask yourself:  what is “distracted driving” to me? And then, more importantly, follow that question with, “What am I going to do about it?”

Start a conversation about it in the comments, and then with your friends and family.

About Melanie Batenchuk:  Melanie Batenchuk is the founder and editor of Be Car Chic, a website dedicated to sharing industry news and automotive advice. She is recognized as a subject matter expert within the auto community, particularly in the areas of consumer advice and distracted driving. Melanie also heads the automotive sector practice as Vice President at Beekeeper Group, a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C.

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