Distracted Driving Is Dangerous

Texting is the most alarming form of distracted driving, and greatly increases the risk of crashing.

Editor's Note: Capt. Joseph H. Stephen is the station commander at the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's Station.

What Is Distracted Driving? There are three main types:

  • Visual: taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive: taking your mind off what you're doing

Distracted driving is any non-driving activity that has the potential to distract the person from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing.

While all distractions can endanger drivers' safety, texting is the most alarming because it involves all three types of distraction.

Other distracting activities include:

  • Using a cellphone
  • Eating and drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a PDA or navigation system
  • Watching a video
  • Changing the radio station, CD, or Mp3 player

Did You Know?

Research on distracted driving reveals some surprising facts:

  • Nationally, 20 percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving.*
  • Of those killed in distracted-driving-related crashes, 995 involved reports of a cellphone as a distraction (18 percent of fatalities in distraction-related crashes).*
  • In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving.*
  • The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group—16 percent of all drivers younger than 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving.*
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves.**
  • Using a cellphone 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 .08 percent.*

Distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic on the nation's roads, and teens are especially vulnerable because of their inexperience behind the wheel and, often, peer pressure. Behind the statistics are real families who have been devastated by this behavior. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's Station are working to spread awareness of this serious problem through enforcement and education.

As with everything we do, the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's Station attempts to work in concert with our Core Values and Mission Statements. Our goals are to keep our streets safe and partner with the residents and businesses we serve.

*Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
**Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

If you have any information about criminal activity in Malibu, contact the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff's station at 310-456-6652. If you wish to remain Anonymous, call "LA Crime Stoppers" by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637) or by going to lacrimestoppers.org


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