Distracted Driving

According to the CDC there are three main types of distraction:
  • Visual: taking your eyes off the road;

  • Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and

  • Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.

Texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distraction. The number of drivers who report using a cell phone behind the wheel has jumped 30 percent since 2013. Nearly half (49%) of drivers report recently talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving, and one in three (35%) sent a text or e-mail while driving. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety performed a study that indicated that crash risk was 2-6 times greater when drivers were manipulating a cellphone compared with when they were not distracted.  The same study showed that the crash risk of texting for drivers was significantly increased for driver age groups under 30 years old and drivers over 64.

Table of Contents

Massachusetts Distracted Driving Law

Massachusetts Safe Driving Law came into effect in September 2010. The law bans sending, typing or reading electronic messages to or from handheld devices while operating a motor vehicle. This includes use of the internet and text messaging. The law also bans all handheld use of electronics by junior operators while behind the wheel. Read the entire summary of the Distracted Driving Law on the Registry of Motor Vehicles website. 

Prevention/Best Practices

Many states are enacting laws—such as banning texting while driving, or using graduated driver licensing systems for teen drivers—to help raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and to help prevent it from occurring. However, the effectiveness of cell phone and texting laws on decreasing distracted driving-related crashes requires further study.

Distracted Driving Resources

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