Driver Distractions

Articles and Summaries

  Oct, 2005:  Distracted Driving – Overview & Guidelines

     The subject of distracted driving, perhaps surprisingly, leaves experts in various fields debating precisely what it is.

     In this article, DSA editor Eddie Wren focuses on many of the points raised at last week’s First International Conference on Distracted Driving (Toronto) and lays out some detailed guidelines for drivers. Click here to view.


  May 11, 2004:  They may realize that it’s not safe, but

most Washington state drivers admit to keeping one eye and

one hand on a meal while driving, according to a new poll on driver distraction.

Full article, including drivers’ own danger-ratings.


Distractions for drivers fall into two basic categories: inside the vehicle, and outside.

Inside the car, there are several obvious distractions and some others that many people tend not to think of in this light but which can also cost lives. These include:

  • Using a cell phone (even hands-free)
  • Eating or drinking while driving
  • Tuning the radio or changing a tape/CD
  • Applying makeup or shaving (or both?!)
  • Glancing at a map or directions
  • Looking at a navigation system
  • Trying to make notes
  • Glancing at the kids, on the back seat
  • Having music on too loud
  • Having an unconfined (or leashed) pet that can reach the driver
  • A heated discussion with a passenger
  • Looking for controls or switches in an unfamiliar vehicle
  • Feeling unwell or stressed

Distractions outside the car can range from the tongue-in-cheek:

…to the more mundane (but equally dangerous):

  • “rubbernecking” at an accident scene
  • seeing friends in another vehicle or on the sidewalk
  • “window shopping” as you pass a store
  • looking at scenery