April 2017 National Distracted Driving Month

A new traffic safety epidemic has emerged on America’s roadways that demand immediate attention: distracted driving. Texting is of intensified anxiety because it combines three types of distraction – visual, manual and cognitive. In other words, texting involves taking your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off the task of driving.

Visual distraction occurs when a driver sees objects or events and this impairs the driver’s observations of the road environment.

Concern about visual distraction is not new – when windscreen wipers were first introduced, there was concern over their potentially hypnotic effect. 8

The way that a driver observes the area around the vehicle depends on how complex it is, and in complex environments, drivers can find it more difficult to identify the main hazards.

In undemanding situations, driver’s attention tends to wander towards objects or scenery that are not part of the driving task. Estimates of how much time drivers spend doing this varies from between 20% and 50%. 9