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SAFETY FACTS - Avoiding Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver  distraction is the leading factor in most crashes.  Nearly 80 percent of crashes and  65 percent of near-crashes involve some form of distraction within three seconds before the event.  In Kentucky in 2014, there were over 53,500 crashes resulting in over 14,000 injuries and 169 fatalities due to distracted driving.

What is distracted driving?
According to NHTSA, distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of crashing.

 There are three main types of distractions:

  • Visual — taking your eyes off the road

  • Manual — taking your hands off the wheel

  • Cognitive — taking your mind off what you’re doing

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

Driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent. (Source: Carnegie Mellon)

Law bans texting while driving.

House Bill 415, signed into law on April 15, 2010, bans texting for drivers of all ages while the vehicle is in motion.  For drivers 18 and over, it allows the use of global positioning devices and reading,  selecting or entering a telephone number or name for the purpose of making a call.   

For drivers under 18, no use of personal communication devices is allowed while the vehicle is in motion.  The use of a global positioning system is allowed, but manually entering information must be  completed while the vehicle is stopped.
If the cell phone rings while driving, safely pull off the roadway, ask a passenger to handle the call, or allow voice mail to answer and return all calls when it is safe and convenient.

What causes driver distraction?

  • Reaching for an object

  • Using music controls

  • Talking or listening to passengers

  • Reading and/or writing

  • Eating, drinking or smoking  

  • Grooming

  • Use of electronic devices

Hand-held or hands-free cell phone use while driving delays reaction time as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)

Children can be a distraction.

  • Always properly restrain children in the back seat.   

  • Make sure the harness straps are snug and insist your child remain in the seat.

  • Stop the car in a safe place if your child gets out of the car seat or seat belt   and refuse to move until the child obeys.  Be calm but firm, and praise the child when he/she rides quietly and stays restrained.

  • If your child continues to remove the harness straps, you may need to try a vest that closes in the back.  Contact E-Z-ON Products at 800-323-6598 or visit

  • Bring something for everyone to do, such as soft toys or books.

  • Play children’s music or stories on tape.

  • Stop often for children to run around and stretch.

Kids are four times more distracting than adults as passengers and infants are eight times more distracting. (Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety)

Pets can be a distraction.

  • Never drive with your animal seated in your lap or roaming freely.

  • Gate, cage or secure your pet with a harness system.

  • Give your pet a toy or bone to keep it busy.

  • Keep the temperature in the car comfortable.

  • Make frequent stops on long trips for bathroom breaks and stretching.

Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, Traffic Citation, Bunch & Brock Attorneys at Law in Kentucky, Kentucky Lawyers, Bunch & Brock, Traffic lawyer, traffic ticket lawyer, traffic court, trucker lawyer, traffic law
For additional information, contact the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Division of Driver Licensing at 502-564-6800 or visit

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