Distracted driving: Where’s your mind?

  • Published
  • By Vicki Peters
Distracted driving is any activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel or your mind off your the primary task of driving safely.

While texting and driving has been at the forefront when it comes to publicity, a recent study by the Erie Insurance Group says it's actually not the number one cause of distracted driving fatalities. So, what is?

Daydreaming or being "lost in thought" is responsible for more fatal U.S. car crashes than mobile phone use, according to the Erie findings, who called the study results "disturbing."

Just the Facts:

Daydreaming or allowing your mind to wander was the distraction 62 percent of the time, compared with 12 percent for mobile phone use.

"Rubbernecking" or focusing on an outside person or event came in next as a leading cause of distraction, followed closely by talking with passengers.

Other distractions include smoking, eating, drinking, adjusting vehicle controls, operating a GPS, and interference from a moving object such as a pet or insect in the car.

Erie's study was based on police data from 2010 and 2011 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System. It showed police listed the majority of drivers who were distracted as 'generally distracted' or 'lost in thought.'

In recognition of the dangers of distracted driving, April has been declared National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Distracted driving can be reduced by recognizing the behaviors and conditions that are likely to take our attention away from the road, focusing on driving routes ahead of time, and by time management to avoid the need to multitask while driving.