Iowa’s Department of Public safety is taking part in “Drive Safely Work Week” beginning today (Monday). Bob Thompson of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau says the focus of the week is distracted driving. He says the Iowa data indicates distracted driving is part of the reason for five percent of car wrecks. He says they believe that is under-reported, as distracted driving often doesn’t come out as a cause in single-car crashes.
Thompson says modern technology and cars filled with electronic gadgets have led to a variety of distractions on the roadway. He says one is a growing use of cellphones, in-car computers and the growing use of technology. He says there’s also the old ones of eating while driving, adjusting the stereo, or looking down for a new C.D.
He says it doesn’t take much of a distraction to cause trouble at 55 to 65 miles an hour or more on the highway. He says it’s easy to cover 100 feet of ground in a seconds time. So he says if you look away for a second, you’ve traveled the length of a football field. Thompson says there’s been an increase in the number of single-vehicle crashes and he says those are often started by a driver who got distracted. He says it starts out with the driver overcorrecting and then they run off the roadway. He says that often leads to the car or truck rolling over and if the person’s not wearing a seatbelt, then they’re ejected and suffer serious injuries or fatalities.
Thompson says you should use this week to review your driving habits to find the distractions. He says many are easy to overcome — such as pulling off at a rest stop to make a phone call, or check your computer.