According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 3300 people were killed and 387,000 injured in motor vehicle accidents connected to distracted driving. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from the primary task of operating a motor vehicle. Distracted driving involves any of the following activities:
- Using a cell phone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps or email
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio
A lot of attention is placed on the role of smart phones in distracted driving accidents. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable as texting and social media sites (Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter…etc.) have become a primary source of communication. Added with the relative inexperience of operating a multi-ton vehicle it becomes a recipe for disaster. Using a cell or smart phone while driving provides the following distractions:
- Visual – an individual takes their eyes off the road
- Manual – an individual takes their hand off the wheel
- Cognitive – an individual takes their mind off of the road and is not concentrating on operating the motor vehicle
Many people believe they are multi-tasking. However, according to the National Safety Council, the idea that a person can multi-task is really a myth. The human brain does not perform different cognitive tasks at the same time. In reality, the brain switches between tasks until a function can be accomplished. The split second that a driver loses focus can lead to deadly consequences. For example, a vehicle traveling at 55mph will cover 80 feet in one second. If something unexpected occurs in that brief second that you are paying attention to your smart phone or attempting to answer a text, it will take between 3-5 seconds to move your foot from the accelerator pedal to the brake. In that 3 to 5 seconds, your vehicle will travel a distance of 240 to 400 feet. For this reason, a person operating a motor vehicle must pay particular attention to roadway conditions and what is happening around them. Conditions on the road may change rapidly and drivers should not be concentrating on anything but operating their motor vehicle.
At Elite Contracting Group our employees spend a lot of time in their vehicles, traveling from one job site to another. Since safety is our primary concern, we require employees to pull off the road and safely stop their vehicles before placing or accepting a phone call. Additionally, our policies prohibit taking notes, reading or answering email, or texting while driving. Since distracted driving is a serious risk to our employees, we utilize traffic barriers and traffic attenuators to protect our personnel from being struck by inattentive drivers. Please help us protect our workers by paying attention to warning signs, slowing down when approaching work areas with flashing lights, and when possible move over a lane if possible to give our crews room to work. Currently, over a hundred roadway workers are killed each year on our nation’s highways and roads, and another 20,000 are injured. Here at Elite Contracting Group we urge drivers to pay attention to road conditions and designated work zones to keep our workers safe. For parents, we urge the installation of phone apps that prohibit younger and less experienced drivers from operating their cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. Let’s make sure all our workers go home safely to their families.