There are several types of driver distraction:
- Visual – takes your eyes off the road. This can include looking for something in the vehicle, electronic devices or reading advertising along the road.
- Manual – takes your hands off the wheel. Smoking, eating and drinking in the vehicle are common manual distractions.
- Auditory – keeps you from hearing important sounds from outside the vehicle. Driving while wearing headphones, talking to passengers or playing music loudly fall into this category.
- Cognitive or Mental – takes your mind off of driving. Stress is a big contributor to this area as we think about our day and get lost in our thoughts.
Cellphones are unique from other forms of driver distraction because they usually involve all forms of distraction. Many people tend to focus on visual and manual distractions. However, mental distraction is very risky because people do not always recognize they are mentally distracted and this distraction lasts much longer than the other types. There is a false perception that hands-free phones are safer than handheld. But research has found no safety benefits to hands-free use. Think about how often you turn down the volume on the radio when looking for a specific address!
Risks of Driving While Talking on a Cellphone:
- Four times as likely to be in crashes resulting in injury or property damage
- More likely to commit driver errors and traffic violations
- Slower reaction time than drivers impaired at the 0.08 alcohol concentration level
- Looking but failing to see up to 50 percent of the driving environment
- More than one-third of the brain's processing resources are drawn away from driving tasks