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April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 10:53 a.m. CDT

Distracted driving endangers motor vehicle drivers, their passengers and pedestrians. Learn more about the consequences by viewing the real-life stories of Iowans whose lives were changed forever due to the carelessness of a distracted driver or as a result of not buckling up. Log on to the Iowa Department of Transportation’s website at www.iowadot.gov/CurbitClickit/ or the U.S. DOT’s site at www.distraction.gov/.

Text messaging while driving is not only illegal; it is one of the most dangerous distractions. It requires drivers to take their hands off the wheel, eyes off the road and mind off the task of driving.

Here are a few more valuable facts about the risks of using mobile communication devices while driving.

• Teen drivers are more likely than other age groups to be involved in a fatal crash where distraction is reported.

• Of the American teens surveyed, 40 percent say they have been in a car when the driver used a mobile phone in a way that put people in danger.

• Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.

• Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.

• Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, which is equivalent to driving (at 55 mph) the length of an entire football field, blind.

• Headset mobile phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use.

• Using a mobile phone while driving — whether it’s hand-held or hands-free — delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

• Driving while using a mobile phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.

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