Tailgate Topic: Distracted Driving
By: Tristan Robledo
It’s likely that everyone’s been guilty of distracted driving in one form or another. Everyone knows not to use their
phone while driving, but what about mental distractions. Have you ever missed your exit or gotten home and can’t
clearly remember the drive? This isn’t to say that there’s nothing that can be done. In fact, it’s actually the opposite.
Learning the different types of distractions is the start. The next step is to recognize it when you are driving. A new
approach to distracted driving attempts to help with this task by categorizing distracted driving into three simple types:
Visual Distraction—Doing something that
requires the driver to look away from the
roadway. Common visual distraction include
sight seeing, rubbernecking, etc.
Manual Distraction—Doing something that
requires the driver to take their hands off
the steering wheel. This may include using
your phone, eating, adjusting your radio or
navigation system, etc.
Mental Distraction—Thinking hard about
something other than driving. Mental distraction
occur frequently, but are more difficult
to recognize. Whatever the thought, if
it’s distracting you it’s a hazard. Mental distractions
are particularly dangerous in residential
areas where the road is shared with
walkers, joggers, and bicyclists.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 420,000 people were injured involving
distracted driving in the US during 2012. It’s important to note that these statistics only include visual and manual distractions.
Whether driving for the County, commuting to and from work, or just stuck in traffic it’s hard enough to
drive without distractions. When you get behind the wheel, make a commitment to focus on driving and avoid visual,
manual and mental driving distractions.
County of Santa Clara, Employee Services Agency, Occupational Safety and Environmental Compliance Department
2310 North First Street, Suite 204, San Jose, CA 95131, Phone 408-441-4280 Fax 408-432-7555 Intranet http://OSEC