2012
04.17

Every day we hear about yet another tragic death associated with distracted driving. When we hear about one of our sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, another young adult, or even just an adult driver injured we quickly associate the cause of the distraction was the result of texting or talking on a mobile device while driving.

Rarely do we focus on the other more pressing distractions such as men scarfing down a burger, women putting on mascara, or our teen drivers manipulating the buttons on the head unit to find their favorite song on the radio while driving.

AAA recently completed a study of teenagers and distracted driving, and the results are extremely interesting. The organization used in-car video cameras to capture footage of teens behind the wheel. The results revealed that distraction of some kind was seen in 15% of the video clips, which seems to me to be a somewhat scary number. Couple this with other studies that pretty much show that teen drivers are easily distracted and take many more risks than older drivers. Even research has revealed that teen drivers, ages 16-19, are easily distracted and take more unnecessary risks than mature experienced drivers.

On my radio show, The Peggy Smedley Radio Show, I continue to stress the importance of hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. All too often drivers, young and old, are too focused on so much more than keeping their minds and eyes on the road in front of them.

The fact remains there is simply no solution for these bad driving habits besides straightforward driver education. That is why we continue to emphasize that April is Distracted Driver Awareness month. If government officials believe there is no way people will voluntarily stop using their cellphones while driving, then it’s time to turn technology into a weapon for good instead of being called out as the evil culprit for the majority of the accidents today.

Setting aside the hands-free in-vehicle connectivity that the automakers are working so hard to bring to market every day, there are some other good technologies available that can help aid in preventing distracted driving. Some of these that are worth considering include: CellControl, Zoomsafer, Illume Software, iGuardianTeen, and inthinc Technology, just to name a few.

Another company, Voice Assist, offers a solution to help drivers make calls, manage emails, and even send text messages using just their voice. With this kind of technology, drivers are empowered to stay connected in a way that leaves their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.

But as always, the best solution is, and always will be, driver education.

Today, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will join the show to discuss the ways companies and individuals can work together to stand against distracted driving in all its forms.

Tune in each today at 12 p.m. CT during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month to learn more.

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