DES?MOINES With ever increasing demands on our personal and professional time in today's busy society, learning to juggle multiple tasks is something we all face daily. As a result, a new traffic safety epidemic has emerged on America's and Iowa's roadways that demands immediate attention: distracted driving.
In 2012, 3,328 people were killed and 421,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. One of the most alarming and widespread forms of distracted driving is cell phone usage. According to a Carnegie Mellon study, driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.
And, a report from the National Safety Council found that people talking on cell phones or sending text messages cause more than one out of every four traffic collisions.
Text messaging is of heightened concern 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.
The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group in which 16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving.
Of those drivers involved in fatal crashes who were reportedly distracted, the 30 to 39 year-olds had the highest proportion of cell phone involvement.
So the next time you are pressed for time, and it seems like multitasking in the car is the best decision, remember those 3,328 lives that were taken because someone decided they could do two things at once. A text or call is not worth your life, or anyone else's.