With the rise in cell phone technology and similar devices incorporating distractions, there is little surprise among researchers regarding the subsequent development of distracted driving across the United States. At a state level, Missouri currently has one of the most lenient set of laws on distracted driving in the nation. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Missouri has no cell phone or handheld device bans and only a texting ban for drivers younger than 21 years old. With this level of freedom, it is easy for drivers to become easily distracted by their devices, at the risk of their personal safety and the lives of others on the road.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines distracted driving as “driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving.” While some drivers interpret this to mean texting or making phone calls, distracted driving can also include eating meals behind the wheel, digging through a handbag or getting involved in heated conversations with passengers. By focusing on activities other than safely driving and paying attention to the road, drivers can endanger lives.
By understanding the different formats that distracted driving can take, drivers can make smarter decisions. With so many distracted drivers on the road, it is important that drivers take action to be more aware of heightened dangers. Simply putting devices aside until the vehicle is parked safely can make a huge first step in creating a safer driving atmosphere. Though it can be hard to avoid having to take calls or eat fast food while navigating a route, drivers can make a safer environment by solely focusing on the act of driving.