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Distracted driving goes to a completely new level

Makeshift memorials to those who lost their lives in tragic motor vehicle accidents dot the landscape along Colorado roadsides. If you recall the painful day when you placed such a memorial for your loved one, you may have lingering questions about the cause of the accident that took the life of someone so precious to you. There is a high chance that authorities told you that distraction was a contributing factor to the accident.

When people hear the words "distracted driving," they may think of texting and driving. The National Safety Council found that cell phone use contributes to about 26 percent of motor vehicle accidents across the country. However, only in five percent of crashes involving cell phones were the drivers texting. Additionally, many who were making or receiving calls as they drove used hands-free devices. This is why it may surprise you to learn that texting is not the most dangerous activity happening behind the wheel.

Shocking AAA study

For many people, especially those driving newer model cars, picking up a cellphone while driving is no longer necessary. More cars now come equipped with technology that lets drivers make phone calls, play music and access other capabilities from the console. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently performed a study to determine the safety of in-vehicle infotainment systems, and the results may shock you.

Despite touch-screen, voice activation and single-button technology, test subjects still experienced dangerous levels of distraction while performing the most common activities drivers engage in behind the wheel:

  • Making a phone call
  • Sending a text message
  • Tuning the radio
  • Programming the navigational system

Even while using advanced technology meant to reduce distraction, participants took their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel and their minds from the task of driving for 24 seconds or more for each of these activities. Considering that research has demonstrated that the chances of being in an accident double after only two seconds of diverted attention, you may understand how important the results of this study may be.

Navigating before and after an accident

Smartphone navigation and map applications are genius inventions that have changed how people travel. However, programming and activating these devices are the most distracting behaviors you can do behind the wheel. The AAA study found that drivers take their attention off the road for an average of 40 seconds to access navigational systems.

While new technologies can disabled texting, calling and navigating while a vehicle is running, most car manufacturers have not included these features in the latest models of their cars. That means drivers must decide if they are going to put the lives of others, including you and your loved ones, at risk by utilizing the devices built into their cars.

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