Distraction.gov is a website launched by the U.S. Department of Transportation in January 2010 dedicated to the prevention of distracted driving. It features many stories just like the one above of 9-year-old Erica Forney. While much of the focus is certainly on the risks posed by text messaging while driving, the website also has additional facts, statistics and research demonstrating the dangers of other forms of distracted driving.
As a January 5, 2012, story by WSAZ-TV noted, the distraction is not always a cell phone. An Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) worker and the driver of a van that hit her were both injured after 28-year-old Christopher Altman was reportedly reaching down for a soda can when he veered and hit the ODOT signal truck on U.S. route 52.
Road workers, tow truck drivers and first responders agree that “distracted drivers are accidents waiting to happen,” WSAZ reported. “They don’t pay any attention to what they are doing,” ODOT worker Andrew Breech told WSAZ. “I’ve had some close calls and been in several near misses.”
Troopers correctly noted that eating and drinking, grooming, reading, watching a video and using a GPS system are all additional forms of distraction that drivers need to keep in mind to prevent car and truck accidents. Many of us can find ourselves in a situation similar to Altman’s, thinking we can take our eyes off the road for one moment to retrieve a loose item. Unfortunately, Altman’s accident reminds us that even just that one moment is all it can take to send people to the hospital.