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Distracted Driving Can Be Deadly

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

You're headed home from work and your cell phone rings. As you struggle to pull your cell phone out of your back pocket, or fish through your purse to find it, the driver ahead of you suddenly slams on the brakes.

Were you able to avoid a collision? According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use and other forms of distracted driving account for 80 percent of all vehicle crashes. The Iowa Dept. of Public Health (IDPH) reminds Iowans that when driving, your first responsibility is the safety of those in your vehicle and others on the road.

"Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related fatalities in Iowa," said Kathy Leinenkugel of the IDPH Occupational Safety and Health Surveillance program. "Highway crashes account for 31 percent of workplace deaths in the state." Three county employees died in Iowa over the past two years in motor vehicle crashes.

Many drivers don't believe they are distracted; they feel 'in control' and able to 'multi-task' while driving. How do you know when you're driving distracted?

* Have you run a stop sign unintentionally?

* Have you driven from one place to another without remembering the route?

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* Have you slammed on your brakes because you didn't see the car in front of you stop?

These are all signs of distracted driving. When you are driving, all your attention should be on that task. Avoid the dangers of distracted driving by staying focused and safe:

* If you need to use your cell phone while driving, pull over to a safe location and put the car in Park.

* Hands-free cell phones are not safer.

* Avoid driving while fatigued.

* Constantly be aware of the roadway ahead to see situations that could require you to take quick action.

* Crash rates for teen drivers with teen passengers increase significantly with each additional passenger. Limit who rides with your teen.