Research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that distracted driving is a major problem on our roadways, and statistics show that distracted driving is highest among newly-licensed drivers.
This is in line with research that shows 20% of drivers ages 18-20 and 30% of drivers ages 21-34 believe that texting does not affect their ability to drive.
These young people are misinformed.
Using a cellphone while driving affects the ability of the driver to focus on the critical task at hand – driving.
The National Safety Council (NSC) stresses that the ability to effectively multitask (cellphone + driving) is a myth:
“Driving and cell phone conversations both require a great deal of thought. When doing them at the same time, your brain is unable to do either well. For example, it’s nearly impossible to read a book and have a phone conversation. While driving, this often results in crashes due to delayed braking times and not seeing traffic signals.” 
The brain can only handle tasks one at a time, rather than simultaneously. Since the brain moves quickly between the two different activities, it may seem as if we are performing multiple tasks at the same time. But we aren’t. And, there are costs associated with the reaction-time when switching focus between two or more activities.
Preliminary studies indicate that drivers talking on a cellphone can miss 50% of the driving environment. What do they miss? Pedestrians, red lights, cyclists, signs, motorcycles. If talking on a cellphone causes a driver to miss that much of the environment, just imagine what a driver who is texting will miss!
Multitasking while driving is distracted driving.
The month of April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a month-long effort by the National Safety Council to raise awareness of the preventable deaths that are caused by distracted driving.
To learn more about what is known about the distracted brain, click here for the National Safety Council white paper on this topic.
For more information about Distracted Driving, visit the NSC site at http://www.nsc.org/
Make a commitment to drive safely by taking the pledge to drive distraction-free here.
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