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Revisit the facts on distracted driving

Since distracted driving is an increasingly prevalent issue across the country, it is important to periodically recap the risks. Thousands of people across the country, including in California, are injured and killed every year in accidents attributed to distracted driving.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, according to the National Safety Council. This month, drivers and others can educate themselves on the dangers and prevention methods for distracted driving, as well as the different types of distractions.

There are visual, manual and cognitive distractions behind the wheel, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain. While visual and manual distractions involve a driver taking his or her eyes off the road and hands or feet away from the task of driving, cognitive distractions involve a driver’s mental attention being diverted from the road. There are an endless number of distractions that drivers can encounter, including food, passengers, the radio, scenery, items that fall to the vehicle’s floor, children in the back seat, a nearby accident and, of course, mobile devices.

In fact, electronic devices are especially dangerous because they utilize all three distraction types. A driver who is engaged in texting and driving, for example, is looking at his or her cellphone instead of the road, has his or her hands on the device instead of the steering wheel and is focusing his or her mind on the device, rather than the task of driving.

Drivers may increase their safety this month by remembering how easy it can be to get distracted behind the wheel and by taking steps to avoid distractions – especially avoiding texting and driving.