Learn the truth behind your everyday driving habits

One local doctor from Salem says distractions are not only dangerous, but they can also be deadly

texting driving generic

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – April has been named Distracted Driving Awareness Month because around this time of year more teenagers are out on the roads.

Spring is usually associated with prom and graduation, so many parents tend to worry a bit more about their children during this time.

Dr. Mike Sevilla from the Family Practice Center of Salem says he gets questions all the time from parents worried about their children, and even from children worried about their parents, regarding distracted driving.

He says distractions are not only dangerous, but they can also turn out to be deadly.

Sevilla classifies distracted driving as any activity that diverts attention from driving. This may including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle or fiddling with the radio, entertainment or navigation system.

In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released the following statistics involving distracted drivers:

  • 3,477 people were killed because of distracted driving
  • 391,000 people were injured because of distracted driving
  • 660,000 drivers were using cell phones while driving

The National Safety Council has addressed the following myths about distracted driving:

  • Drivers can multitask — you can’t completely focus while talking on the phone and driving at the same time; trying to do both can slow down your reaction time
  • Talking on a cell phone is just like speaking to a passenger — people in the car can help alert the driver of any traffic issues while those on a cell phone cannot
  • Speaking hands-free is safe to do while driving — drivers on cell phones can miss seeing up to 50 percent of their environment, including pedestrians and red lights
  • Using your phone at stop lights is OK — you’re still distracted; in a recent study by AAA, people are still distracted up to 27 seconds after they finish sending a message
  • Voice-to-text messaging is safe to do while driving — this is not true because drivers may have to re-do their messages due to auto-correct, causing even more time on your phone