Defining the Problem: What is Distracted Driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. All month long, the experts at Official Driving School are sharing tips to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and eliminate preventable deaths and injuries.

EVERY month is a good month to be aware of the dangers of distracted driving. However, April is the month officially designated to bring nationwide awareness to the epidemic of distracted driving.

First… What exactly IS distracted driving?

The main types of distraction while driving are:

  • Visual distractions that result in the driver taking his/her eyes off the road
  • Manual distractions that cause the driver to take his/her hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive distraction where the driver’s mind wanders from focusing on the road

Common distractions while driving include:

  • Texting
  • Checking social media or emails
  • Talking on the Phone
  • Watching videos
  • Attending to children or pets
  • Eating or drinking
  • Searching for an item in the car
  • Looking at a navigation app
  • Personal grooming using the rearview mirror
  • Adjusting climate or music controls

Texting while driving is the most egregious distraction, because the driver engages in all three types of distractions at the same time.

Note that there are legal consequences to this dangerous behavior as well. Current Michigan law explicitly prohibits texting while driving. First time offenders are fined $100 and repeat offenders can be fined $200. There is additional pending legislation in Michigan to prohibit texting while driving and increase fines to further discourage distracted driving behavior.