Steer clear of distracted driving - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Steer clear of distracted driving

JACKSON, MO (KFVS) -

Drivers like Traci Trout says distracted drivers make her nervous to be on the road. Trout says a driver hit her when the woman ran a red light while texting.

Jackee Collins witnessed a distracted driving crash when she saw one car hit another, and knock it on its side. Collins says the driver told her she was only distracted for a moment.

"She just said I just looked for a split second down, and I had no idea, I just didn't see it happen, so it was pretty shocking," said Collins.

Collins says witnessing that wreck first hand has made her think twice about doing anything while driving.

"I have to admit, sometimes I have looked down at my phone checking on my kids, and it made me second think when I do those things," said Collins.

Collins has a teenage driver, and she says she talks to her kids about distracted driving. She says they're good at reminder her to keep her eyes on the road.

"We're multi-tasking all the time our phones have given us that we are busy people, that's just our nature now, so I think we just don't know how to slow down and focus on exactly what we're doing," said Collins.

There are 3 types of driver distractions according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The organization says drivers need to watch out for visual distractions, things that takes drivers' eyes off the road, manual distractions, things that cause drivers to take their hands off the wheel, and cognitive distractions, something that takes drivers' minds off of driving.

A couple tips to prevent distracted driving:

-Get road ready before you start driving...adjust your seat, mirrors, and heating/cooling system before you put your car in drive.

-Get ready before you get in the car…eat and get dressed so you don't have to do that while driving.

-Stow electronic devices so you're not tempted to use them while driving. Pull over if you need to use your cell phone.

One town in South-West Missouri, Forsyth, is making it illegal to drive distracted. It will be a second offense, meaning police will need to show distracted driving led to another offense like a traffic crash. City officials say they know it will be difficult to enforce, but hope it will raise awareness.

In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in crashes involving driver distraction, and an estimated 448,000 were injured. (NHTSA)

16% of fatal crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA)

20% of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA)

Drivers who use hand-held devices are 4 times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Monash University)

Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. (VTTI)

Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind. (VTTI)

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