Distracted Driver

Are you a distracted driver?

Do you text while driving? Distracted driving is defined as any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. ALL distractions endanger driver, passenger and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:

  • Texting
  • Using a cell phone or smartphone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 player

But, because text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.

There are three main types of distraction:

  1. Manual: taking your hands off the wheel.
  2. Visual: taking your eyes off the road
  3. Cognitive: taking your mind off driving

The NMSU Fire Department encourages you not to text while driving; cell phone use was reported in 18% of distracted-related fatalities in America. Did you know that texting takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds? That’s like driving an entire football field blindfolded at 55 mph. To learn more about the impact of distraction driving go to www.distraction.gov for additional information.

Also, check out this video.

New Mexico will become the 42nd state to ban texting while driving on July 1, 2014, but a municipal ordinance in Las Cruces is more comprehensive and has prohibited distracted driving since 2010. Las Cruces’ ordinance went into effect Feb. 5, 2010, and prohibits cell phone use while driving within city limits. The ban includes engaging in a phone call or creating, sending and reading text messages or e-mail while operating a motor vehicle. Dialing, texting or otherwise manipulating an electronic device while driving is prohibited within city limits.

Engaging in a conversation on a cell phone is permitted within city limits only if the driver is utilizing a hands-free device and its use does not interfere with the safe operation of the vehicle.

The new state law bans texting and prohibits looking at written content on a cell phone while driving, even if the driver is stopped at a red light. The state law does allow talking on a cell phone, and the use of global positioning systems or similar navigation systems while driving. The municipal ordinance carriers a $92 fine. The new state law will carry fines of $25 for the first offense and $50 for a second and subsequent offenses. The penalty assessments for the city ordinance and new state law do not include incidents where the violation has caused or contributed to the cause of an accident, injury or death.

Be safe when driving!

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