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Island University Driver Safety Expert Discusses Dangers of Distracted Driving

December 14, 2015

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – On December 2-3, high school students at Miller High School learned about the dangers of distracted driving from Dr. Philip Rhoades, Director of the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Social Science Research Center. He gave presentations to three high school classes on distracted driving, distributed handouts and answered questions as part of the Nueces County Safe Communities Driver Safety Public Education Campaign.

“Because traffic crashes are the primary cause of injury and death for young drivers, it is important to make future and new drivers aware of risks as early as possible in their driving life,” said Rhoades.

Driving is a daily activity that involves constant and complex coordination between mind and body. Distractions are considered to be events or things that prevent a driver from operating a car safely. There are three types of distractions: anything that takes a driver’s eyes or mind off the road or hands off the steering wheel. Distractions affect a driver by causing slower reaction time, no reaction at all, or causing the driver to fail to recognize potential hazards.

Distracted driving is dangerous; even a momentary distraction can have devastating results. At 55 miles per hour, a driver glancing away for two seconds is driving blind for a distance of 132 feet—almost half the length of a football field.

Examples of distracted driving include:

  • Using cell phones and other mobile technologies (talking on the phone, texting)
  • Eating and drinking
  • Personal grooming
  • Picking up items that fall
  • Tuning a radio

Rhoades and his team also presented on the subjects of texting and driving, drinking and driving, pedestrian safety, bicycle safety and many others to the high school students during the months of November and December. The Campaign participated in several health fairs and community events in November and December by providing safety information packets and made several driving safety presentations at the University.

The Nueces County Safe Communities Driver Safety Public Education Campaign was developed by the Social Science Research Center at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, a research, planning and education resource center. The campaign includes public education literature, driver safety slide presentations, and public presentations on topics such as: distracted driving, texting and driving, drinking and driving, pedestrian safety, and bicycle safety.

For more information on the Nueces County Safe Communities Driver Safety Public Education Campaign, click here.