Knowing the Dangers of Distracted Driving

Driving while distracted can be just as deadly as driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Yet, despite public awareness campaigns and strict legislation, far too many people still lose their lives in car accidents caused by distracted drivers. Here at West Hills Hospital , our emergency care team stresses the importance of prevention and wishes our neighbors in the West Hills area a safe summer.


Distracted driving is broadly defined as engaging in any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from the task of driving. Anyone is at risk of distracted driving, but young drivers have the highest rates of engaging in distracted driving. Quite often, distracted driving takes the form of using cellphones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel. According to the official U.S. government website for distracted driving, at any given moment, about 660,000 drivers around the U.S. are using electronic devices while driving. This shocking statistic has held steady for six years. During 2014, distracted driving killed 3,179 people and injured 431,000 others.


Experts recognize three main types of distraction. Visual distraction involves taking one’s eyes off the road and manual distraction involves taking one’s hands off the wheel. Cognitive distraction involves taking one’s mind off the task at hand. Within these categories, there are many activities that can cause distracted driving and many of these can cause more than one type of distraction. In addition to using cellphones and other electronic devices, distracted driving occurs when a driver engages in conversation with passengers, stares at billboards or other sights, eats or drinks, or allows his or her mind to wander.


Legislation that bans the use of cellphones while driving may help to curb some of this behavior. However, it’s still very important for parents to emphasize the dangers of distracted driving to their teens. Parents can also set a good example for their children by never engaging in distracted driving themselves.

When car accidents occur in the West Hills area, exceptional emergency care is available at West Hills Hospital. In addition to emergency care, our community hospital is a leading provider of compassionate cancer care and burn care. You can speak with a registered nurse at (818) 676-4321 to request general information.

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