This Wednesday is Halloween and the sidewalks and streets throughout the country will be filled with a wide variety of ghosts, ghouls, and goblins. Will your kids be out trick-or-treating this Halloween? Will you be going with them, or will you be headed to a party with friends?
If you have kids who will be joining in Halloween festivities take a few minutes to review the safety suggestions posted on the Centers for Disease Control’s website.
If you are out driving please keep in mind that doing anything but focusing on the road ahead of you may put someone’s life in danger. Distracted driving is always hazardous, but with so many young children out during the early evening hours on Wednesday it will be especially dangerous.
Looking down at your phone to see who sent you a text may only take a few seconds, but in those few seconds a child might decide to cross the street in front of you.
“The average time they take their eyes off the road (to text) is 5 seconds. And you know how much damage you can do with two tons of metal in 5 seconds. You can travel the length of a football field in that time,” says Jim O’Donnell, president and CEO of BMW North America.
Want more reasons to stay off your cell phone while driving this Halloween?
1. Being a distracted driver also makes you more stupid. That is what a 2008 Carnegie Mellon University study would suggest. Researchers using brain imaging discovered that just listening to a cell phone reduces by 37 percent the amount of brain activity associated with driving.
2. Using a cell phone while driving delays reaction time. A University of Utah study found that a driver using a cell phone while driving, either hand-held or hands-free, delays a person’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol level at the legal limit of .08 percent.
3. Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute)
4. In 2010, 3092 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver. An estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver. (Distraction.Gov)
5. Teen age drivers more prone to distracted driving. 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted. (Distracted.Gov)
Distracted drivers are the major risk, but how many times have you seen pedestrians walk right into a busy intersection and not look up from their phones or i-Pods long enough to check and see if it is safe to do so?
Parents, who will be out with their kids this Halloween need to pay attention, because it is unlikely that their excited trick-or-treaters are watching out for distracted drivers.
Let’s all promise that we will put away our distracting devices when driving or escorting our kids and enjoy a safe Halloween.
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