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Posted April 6, 2014
April 2014 is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month - All Children's Hospital's Occupant Protection Program reminds you about safe practices in the vehicle when it comes to driving distractions. Drivers talking on the phone have slower reaction then those with .08 of alcohol level. Drivers using cell phones are four times more likely to be involved in a crash. More than 2 out 3 people have talked on the phone while driving during the last month. Based on the information from the National Safety Council, the three most popular myths are:

Myth # 1: The Driver Is Good at Multitasking

Truth: Human brain cannot successfully multitask. This is not to say humans cannot do two things at once. For example: An average person can chew a gum and walk. So, why couldn't they talk on the cell phone and drive? Walking is an activity, which involves thinking (Where am I going? I need to cross here, etc.). Chewing gum is a non-thinking task. On the other hand both talking on the phone and driving are thinking tasks. In order to do both, the brain switches from one to another, instead of doing both at the same time.

Myth # 2: Talking to someone on the phone is no different than having a conversation with somebody in the car

Truth: Researchers from University of Utah found the opposite is true. They stated that drivers talking on the phone were less likely to notice changing driving conditions because they are the only persons in the conversation, who look at the road. On the contrary, when talking with a passenger there are more people in the vehicle looking out at the driving conditions.

Myth # 3: Hands-free devices eliminate the dangers of cell phone use while driving

Truth: Building onto the information about Myth # 1 & 2 - conversations during driving are still risky, because of the activity in the brain. According to research from Carnegie Mellon University, activity in the parietal lobe decreases 37% while listening to language. Parietal lobe is the area responsible for processing of visual movement and therefore is very important for safe driving. Additionally, drivers talking on their cells miss 50% of their driving environments. This includes pedestrians and red lights. This is called "inattention blindness" - trend of looking, but not seeing.