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Chief's Monthly Message

May 11

[ARCHIVED] Dangers of Distracted Driving

The original item was published from May 11, 2018 10:04 AM to May 11, 2018 10:05 AM

As many of you know, April was National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In years past, most drivers were distracted by passengers looking for items in the car, adjusting the radio or eating while driving. Today, the primary culprit is the distraction caused by your cell phone. As phones get “smarter,” their ability to distract us while driving increases.

Reading or sending texts or emails, posting on social media, entering addresses into navigation systems, etc., all cause drivers to become distracted. Studies have indicated that reading a text can distract your eyes from the road for five seconds or more. At 50 miles per hour, you will travel more than the length of a football field while reading the text—all without ever looking at the road. No driver should drive distracted, but young drivers are even more vulnerable as they may use phones more while driving and their level of driving expertise is not fully developed.

Cell phone use while driving causes three types of distraction. The first is visual - taking your eyes off the road. The second is manual - taking your hands off the steering wheel. The third is cognitive, which is reducing your focus on driving. The results can indeed be deadly.

In 2015, 3,477 people in the U.S. were killed by drivers who were distracted, and over 391,000 people were injured by distracted drivers. In 2016, there were 3,041 crashes, 15 deaths and 974 people injured in Kansas alone that were the result of some form of distracted driving accident.

This year, members of the Derby Police Department will be proactive in enforcing the city ordinance regarding unlawful use of a wireless communication device. We will continue to use new and unconventional ways to identify those breaking the law. Our main goal is to reduce traffic accidents, specifically those causing injury. Please do your part and help us by driving with your “eyes up and phone down.”

Robert Lee
Police Chief

Published in the Derby Informer on April 4, 2018.