News

Texting and driving don’t mix

We all do it – reply to a text on the way to a party, fix our makeup in the rear view mirror or frantically scroll through our iPod looking for the perfect song. While we’re all well versed on the effects of drinking and driving, we rarely consider the little things we do behind the wheel to be distracting, let alone dangerous.

On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District Six, will be launching its “Put it Down” campaign to spread awareness of distracted driving across Miami-Dade and Monroe County. That same day, an outreach event will be held on the Rock from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event will include organizations such as UMPD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Pier 21, Coral Gables Police Department, AAA, BikeSafe, FHP and FDOT Traffic Management, which will be conducting demonstrations and distributing brochures.

In addition to UM, FDOT has joined forces with academic institutions including Miami-Dade Public Schools, Florida International University and  Miami Dade College to educate young drivers about the impact of what is being described as an epidemic.

“Distracted driving” is a term that includes visual, manual or cognitive distractions, meaning it incorporates anything that distracts an individual from the primary task of driving. While the term applies to activities such as eating, drinking and reading maps, texting while driving is often seen as particularly dangerous since it involves several types of distraction.

At any given moment during daylight hours, over 800,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a handheld cell phone, according to the National Highway Safety Administration.

“When people are listening to a cell phone conversation, they’re slower to respond to things they’re looking at,” said Steven Yantis, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins University in a TIME article. “It requires you to select one thing at the cost of being less able to respond to other things.”

Statistics from 2009 have revealed the impact of distracted driving. Five thousand drivers were killed, and more than 448,000 people were injured in incidents reported to have involved distracted driving, according to a press release from UM Media.

These incidents equate to roughly one in five of all injury accidents on the roads that year. In addition, it was discovered that the greatest proportion of distracted drivers were under 20 years old.

“With advancements in technology and the dependence on mobile phones and other handheld devices, it is more important than ever that drivers understand the risks involved in distracted driving,” District 6 Secretary Gus Pego said. “When you’re behind the wheel, your focus should be on the road and getting where you need to be safely.”
FDOT’s campaign is specifically targeted at the 16- to 24-year-old age bracket, a range that encompasses a majority of UM’s student population.

“Sometimes I’ll text at a stoplight, but I don’t really like to,” sophomore Erin Purdy said. “ You wouldn’t write a letter while driving. Adjusting the radio is OK, but not texting.”
For more information on the FDOT event, visit distraction.gov.

September 25, 2011

Reporters

Danielle Edwards


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The college football season doesn't begin until the end of August, but that never stops media o ...

There were indications, even before Lonnie Walker IV was selected No. 18 by the San Antonio Spurs in ...

Add another player to the Miami Hurricanes' 2019 recruiting class. Defensive end Jahfari Harvey ...

From the onset, the Miami Hurricanes' plan was for the Carol Soffer football indoor practice fa ...

Gino DiMare on Tuesday stood in a spot that two men before him had crafted into a pinnacle of succes ...

Community art project encourages the public to explore the vibrant downtown area of Coral Gables and ...

It appears that his third run for the presidency will be successful as he distances himself from the ...

Teachers tackle challenging questions at the Holocaust Studies Summer Institute. ...

A University of Miami lecturer explores the role of the front porch in black communities. ...

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, two public health sciences students traveled to Puerto Rico to ...

Walker picked 18th overall by San Antonio Spurs, Brown 42nd by Detroit Pistons. ...

The University of Miami women's golf team had three individuals selected to the 2018 Atlantic C ...

NBA Draft will be held Thursday evening in Brooklyn. ...

Haley Templeton is set to travel to Detroit, Mich., on Friday to train and compete with the U.S. Wom ...

First-year Miami head soccer coach Sarah Barnes released Wednesday the team's schedule for the ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.