Know the facts about distracted driving

Many Nebraska residents may see no harm in answering a text message while they’re stopped a traffic light or making a quick phone call as they drive. However, it is important for drivers to understand that these actions can jeopardize their safety on the road. Making phone calls and sending text messages are both forms of distracted driving and this behavior can be dangerous for drivers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers are distracted any time they do not have their full attention on the road. Distracted driving is more than just sending text messages and answering phone calls. Talking to passengers, eating and changing the radio station are also forms of distracted driving because they can make a driver split his or her attention between the road and another activity.

Distracted driving has had a large impact on Nebraska drivers.  The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services says that over a 10-year period, distracted driving resulted in over 3,600 motor vehicle collisions each year. The number of distracted driving accidents that occur in the state has risen and in 2015, about 10 percent of car crashes happened because a driver was distracted. Additionally, this phenomenon affects many teenage drivers. Cell phones were a distraction to drivers in 160 car accidents in 2015 and 43 of these collisions involved a teenage driver.

The state of Nebraska has taken steps to ensure that drivers are not distracted behind the wheel. It is against the law for drivers to use a wireless device while they drive and the state also has a ban on texting. Some people may receive points on their driver’s license or have to pay a fine if law enforcement officials catch them sending text messages or making phone calls as they drive.