Distracted Driving

Driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

Driving is a visual task and non-driving activities that draw the driver's eyes away from the roadway should always be avoided.

As of July 1, 2010, Michigan law prohibits texting while driving.  For a first offense, motorists are fined $100.  Subsequent offenses cost $200.

There are three main types of distraction:

  • Visual - taking your eyes off the road
  • Manual - taking your hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive - taking your mind off the drive

Texting is the most alarming distraction because it involves all three types of distraction.

Distracting activities include:

  • Texting or messaging
  • Checking social media
  • Talking on the phone, even hands-free
  • Watching videos
  • Eating, drinking, or smoking
  • Grooming
  • Looking after children or pets
  • Chatting with passengers
  • Searching or reaching for an item
  • Looking at crashes or roadside sights
  • Checking a navigation system
  • Reading anything, including maps
  • Adjusting climate or music controls
  • Listening to loud music

How not to be distracted:

  • Use your phone's Do Not Disturb feature or an app to silence calls and texts.
  • Put your phone in the glove box or elsewhere to curb the urge to look at it.
  • Avoid eating, drinking, and smoking while driving.
  • Never attempt to read while driving, including a map.
  • Do not do any personal grooming or adjust your clothing while driving.
  • Avoid a lot of interaction with passengers.
  • Emotions can interfere with driving. Do not drive when you are angry or upset.
  • Keep music at a reasonable level, and avoid using headphones or earbuds.
  • Pull over to a safe location and park your vehicle if you need to make or take a call.
  • Do not drive with a pet on your lap.
  • Ask a passenger to help navigate, change the music, or monitor your texts.
  • Pull over to a safe place to address situations involving children.
  • Do not daydream when you are behind the wheel.

Related Links

Kelsey's Law Video
Distracted Driving brochure
Sample School Announcements
Distracted Driving Facts and Statistics
Technology Resources for Safe Driving
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 
National Safety Council 
Carnegie Mellon 
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Eyes Drive - Awareness Behind the Wheel