Put it Down

Brittney Means, Opinion Editor

40% of car accidents in Madison County are caused by distracted drivers.

Last Wednesday, Brian Porn of Lincoln, and State Trooper, Bill Price gave students of Northeast Community College a presentation about distracted drivers.  The presentation was full of facts and videos to get the student’s attention.

In Madison County, 40% of car accidents are caused by distracted drivers, which is twice the national average.  Distracted drivers include anything that can be distracting while driving.  Such as, talking on the phone, to applying make-up, to eating a cheeseburger.  Porn mentioned that there are three ways in which drivers are distracted.  Visual distraction happens when the driver becomes visually distracted.  Manual distraction happens when the driver takes his or her hands off the wheel.  Cognitive distraction is when the drivers mind is distracted.  Porn talked about how drivers need to focus 100% on their driving.  “Talking is bad, texting is worse, way worse,” said Porn.  If a driver is texting while they are driving, they are 23 times more likely to crash then if they are talking on the phone.

Trooper Bill Price gave students visual descriptions of what can happen if drivers are distracted.  6,000 youth, ages 16-19 are killed every year in accidents caused by distracted driving.  As of now, 32 states have a cell phone/texting bans while driving.  However, this law in Nebraska is a secondary law, meaning the police would have to catch the driver breaking another law as well as the cell phone law for the driver to get in trouble for it.

Porn also mentioned the study Carnegie Mellon University did on driver’s brain function.  The University used brain imaging, and found that listening to a call reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by 37%.  “Talking on a cell phone has a special social demand, such that not attending to the cell conversation can be interpreted as rude, insulting behavior,” said Psychology Professor Marcel Just, leader of the study.

The number one cause of vehicle crashes in the United States is distracted driving.  Trooper Price encourages drivers to put down their cell phones and any other devices that are being distracting and focus on the road.  Put it down!