September 10, 2015

We love multitasking. But it’s time to realize how dangerous phones, food and makeup can be … at least in the car.


It’s no surprise
that distracted driving causes accidents. It may surprise you, however, to find out just how much that cellphone distracts you, even if you’re just talking. One study found that listening to a call reduced the amount of driving-associated brain activity — meaning, what’s keeping you in the right lane in the right speed — by 37 percent. The study authors likened the diminished brain activity to drinking while driving.

To help combat such distraction, Tennessee has banned all cellphone use for bus drivers and novice drivers, as well as texting for drivers of all ages. These laws are nothing to ignore. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day in the United States, more than nine people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.

But cellphones shouldn’t get all the blame. Other distractions responsible for crashes involve:

  • Reading a book, newspaper, paperwork, etc.
  • Looking at a map
  • Writing notes
  • Cleaning a side mirror, rummaging through a grocery bag
  • Personal grooming
  • Eating
  • Talking, singing and dancing

If you still feel that a quick text to family or a glance at Twitter is no big deal, consider this: Drivers spend an average of five seconds with their eyes off the road while texting. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, if you’re traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field, and you’re doing it essentially blindfolded.

Are you ready to take the pledge not to text and drive? After that, check out Tim McGraw’s video, shot at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, with an important safety message.