Distracted driving is a growing U.S. epidemic among all drivers.

Mark Benden, Ph.D., CPE

Mark Benden, Ph.D., CPE

“Some of the most common distracted driving behaviors are cell phone usage, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading, watching a video, changing the radio station and operating a compact disc or MP3 player,” says Mark Benden, Ph.D., CPE, assistant professor in the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health. “It’s important to note that most of these behaviors are associated with technology or cellular telephones.”

Distracted driving can result in many various consequences, including death. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2010, distracted driving caused more than 600,000 car crashes, 300,000 injuries and 2,500 deaths. The annual estimated cost to society is $43 billion.

“We must search for methods to implement autonomous technology in vehicles, as well as encourage cell-free zones across our daily lives,” Dr. Benden says. “These types of solutions will improve driver focus and attention in a constantly evolving world of technological distractions and enable drivers to be more aware of their behaviors and environment.”

— Rae Lynn Mitchell