Distracted drivers are risky drivers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Distracted drivers are risky drivers

^Trooper Benton ^Trooper Benton

May 29, 2003

Albany-- Have your ever talked on your cell phone while you were driving? Or eaten a meal behind the wheel?

If you said yes, you are hardly alone. In a new poll, 91 percent of Americans admit risky behaviors while driving.

Drive thru windows at fast food restaurants are quick and convenient. But if you eat that meal while driving, you are doing what vehicle safety experts call a risky behavior.

More than half of American drivers admit they eat while driving, according to a new poll. More than a third admitted they talk on the cell phone while driving. Fourteen percent say they have read behind the wheel.

The Georgia State Patrol says motorists need to cut down on distractions while driving.

Trooper First Class Darryl Benton said "People using their cell phones without thinking about the care of other drivers. Newspapers people read. They look at maps on the way out of town. Things of that nature. Eating is also a distraction. A lot of time people forget where they are at. They drop something and try to pick it up."

While distracted drivers cause lots of crashes, the most dangerous behavior still is speeding. Seven in ten drivers acknowledge speeding in the last six months.

Trooper Benton said "But our highest causes of accidents are speeding and DUI's."

Benton says he thinks more people are understanding the dangers of driving distractions, and practicing safe driving.

 Eleven hundred drivers were questioned in the study, which was conducted by AAA, Partners for Highway Safety, and Volvo.

posted at 4:35PM by dave.miller@walb.com