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Distracted Driving: Are You Guilty?

Updated on January 20, 2014
Using a cell phone while driving is not just dangerous; it's illegal
Using a cell phone while driving is not just dangerous; it's illegal

What Are Distractions?

In recent years, much noise has been made about the bad habit of talking on cell phones and/or texting while driving. Neither of those are safe things to do; they are very much distractions, and in most states, against the law.

However, a more general definition of 'distracted driving,' is any activity which prevents you from paying 100% attention to the task of driving.

There are many, many distractions available in our modern lives, and we must be vigilant not to fall victim to these bad habits, for it may mean saving our own lives, or that of someone else. Statistics have claimed that up to 80% of all accidents are caused by distracted driving of one sort or another.

The truth is, distractions have always been with us; it's just that there are more and more of them these days. Check the list below to see what qualifies.

Some Examples of Distractions

  • The infamous talking/dialing/texting on cell phones tops the list
  • Fiddling with climate controls
  • Tuning in a radio station or putting in a CD
  • Reading a map or looking at the GPS display (pull over to read a map; set the GPS for voice prompts)
  • Reading a book! (Yes, I've seen people with books propped up on their steering wheel!)
  • Grooming/putting on makeup
  • Arguing with anyone--passenger next to you; kids in back seat; someone on the phone (see #1)
  • Gawking at an accident or a cop pulling someone over
  • Turning around to yell at/smack kids
  • Loose animal in the car--dogs are the most likely offenders; dog in lap, especially bad, and illegal in many states
  • Turning to look at those sign-jigglers advertising everything from pizza to new homes.
  • Looking away from the road to ogle a hot babe or guy
  • Searching for something in purse, glove box, or pile of papers on the seat

Fiddling with the climate controls or radio/CD player is just as bad
Fiddling with the climate controls or radio/CD player is just as bad

Stop the Car!

When you really think about it, there is not a single thing on earth so important that it cannot wait until you have arrived at your destination.

For those few things that do need a 'right now' answer or information, please, find a place to pull over, and stop the car before reading or sending that text message or answering that phone call.

Recent statistics have shown that talking on the phone is distracted driving, regardless of "hands-free" devices. There really is no difference, for the conversation itself pulls the driver's attention off the road.

How many news broadcasts, posts on Face Book, newspaper articles, have we all seen with the same general message, involving someone dead in an auto accident because someone thought it was so important to send a text message? When will it be enough? When will everyone learn?

Not a single one of us is exempt from the laws of physics, and those are the laws in play when these things happen. Do you want to be responsible for killing someone else with your car? Do you want to be the next headline for going to your own grave too early? No, I don't think so.

Pay 100% attention to your driving; stop the car if you need directions or have to make an emergency call or text. And by the way, messages such as, "Where are you?" or "I'll be there in a few minutes" are not emergencies!

We Are Not Immortals

The concept of immortality is fun to play with; goodness knows Hollywood has made plenty of money from exploiting that particular fantasy. But fantasy is just what it is.

Too many people, and sadly, young people especially, seem to have a sense of invincibility and immortality. The idea that "It's not going to happen to me," is far too prevalent. But the headlines prove otherwise.

Don't ruin your life or someone else's because you couldn't wait to send a text; argue with your spouse; scold the kids in the back or corral the dog.

Even with one hand still on the wheel, your eyes are still off the road
Even with one hand still on the wheel, your eyes are still off the road

Photo Credits

All photos by Liz Elias, 10-27-13. Thanks to my grandson for posing for these. Please be aware, these photos were not taken while he was driving; they were posed for the article while the cars were parked.


Submit a Comment
  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Thanks, B.Leekley--I'm in a forum discussion now about the various inconveniences with quizzes and trying to view the stats. LOL

  • B. Leekley profile image

    Brian Leekley 

    7 years ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

    I'm sorry about the quiz. I hope you will give another one a try. Or maybe a poll.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, B.Leekley,

    Thanks ever so much for all the votes and shares! Much appreciated!

    I agree that daydreaming is no good. Traveling down a boring straight stretch of road is no fun, and it is so easy to get into trouble of one sort or another, whether that of "highway hypnosis" and virtually dozing off, and losing control, or substances, as you point out. I realize that I tend to be subject to this zoning out on a long boring road, so I do things to keep myself alert, such as sucking on ice chips; playing music and singing along (badly) and also frequent rest stops, sometimes to take a short nap.

    You are right about the quiz--I'll see if I can fix that. Thanks so much for your input.

    Update: could not fix it--it got fouled up, and I ended up having to delete the quiz.

  • B. Leekley profile image

    Brian Leekley 

    7 years ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

    Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared with followers and on social networking sites. This is an excellent and timely article.

    I would put daydreaming as the number one distraction.

    When my wife and I a few years ago drove across South Dakota, we kept seeing single car accidents. The countryside was hundreds of miles of flatland and straight highway, which some drivers find boring. A boring road and any combination of daydreaming, other distraction, sleepiness, or booze / drugs in the blood, plus a sudden need for quick reflexes, equals an accident.

    About the quiz, you don't include a Not Applicable to Me option. I don't have children; I clicked the Act Like Angels choice.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Jackie,

    Congratulations on being a safe and courteous driver! The world needs more. I agree, it is madness--not only behind the wheel, but also in the grocery store...I fail to see what is so #$#(*%$ important that anyone needs to be on the phone the entire time they're shopping!

    It is most dangerous behind the wheel, though, and adults doing this are setting horrible example for their kids--not to mention putting them at risk! Perhaps if the charge for cell phone use with kids in the car were escalated to felony child endangerment, that would slow the madness??

    Thanks so much for stopping by and contributing, and thanks much for the share!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 

    7 years ago from the beautiful south

    Wow your quiz says I should open a driving school! lol I am that careful and I personally think this cellphone mania and texting is a real madness. You never look at anyone today that is not doing one or the other, even the old men! What is that important? You know it is costing lives and the sad thing is it is costing many innocent lives who would never do this or little children. Sharing so that many more can read this.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, manatita44,

    It is, indeed crazy! The scene you describe tops them all of the stupid driving stunts I've seen! Wow! It's bad enough that so many motorcycle riders do the lane-splitting thing, and drive between the lanes of cars in order to make it to the red light 5 seconds faster than everyone else. Lot of good it did them! Dangerous for all, and IMO, should be illegal.

    Thanks very much for stopping by and adding your story. A very safe and happy holiday season to you and yours as well.

  • manatita44 profile image


    7 years ago from london

    Crazy, isn't it? I once saw a bloke with a cup of coffee in one hand and a cell phone in the other. Who was holding the handle bar of the moving cycle? No one.

    Thanks for highlighting this. Merry Christmas!1

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, RTalloni,

    You are right--there unfortunately seems to be an endless supply of stupidity. Thanks very much for your support and comment. Safe holidays to you and yours as well.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    We will always have the stupid with us and distracted driving is a primary proof that fact. We need to encourage each other to pay attention to the various distractions that kill and maim--thanks. Safe holidays to you and yours!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Corolla98, Yes, this is a very distracting practice, and dangerous. (Tuning the radio is no better-- ;-) )

    Thanks very much for stopping by and commenting.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    How do people do this ? Texting is so distracting. Sometimes you have to look down, read, scroll, read some more, scroll some more, then text. You have to do all of that within seconds while driving. Turning to a different radio station is hard enough lol.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    @ StephSev108--Who looks like he lives in Atlanta? My grandson, who posed for these photos? Nope--he lives here in California, about a mile from me! ;-) Thanks very much for your kind comment. I do hope the word gets out.

    @ loveofnight--Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. How very maddening, indeed. It is really awful that even with insurance, you don’t get adequate compensation to replace what was lost. (I wrote a Hub about auto insurance being a scam of sorts!) Thanks very much for sharing your story and helping to make the point!

    @ LKMore01--Thanks so very much I’m glad you found the article useful and that you liked the quiz. Stop by anytime!

    @ Nell Rose--Hi there, Nell! I know exactly what you mean. I drive everywhere…and even have to chauffeur my husband to his appointments, since his medical condition got his license suspended. L However, I can easily relate to your concern. When I’m not the driver, I’m a very nervous passenger. I want the driver eyes, head and hands 100% on the driving task. That’s not to say you can control what anyone else is doing in the cars around you, but if I’m the driver, at least I can know that whatever happens wasn’t because I was doing something wrong. Otherwise, you are double-victimized! Thanks for the vote!

  • Nell Rose profile image

    Nell Rose 

    7 years ago from England

    Hi lizzy, I don't drive, but I get really nervous when in a car with someone who starts to fiddle with things as they are driving! I remember coming back from the coast recently, and the girl who was driving kept talking to the other passenger in front, putting in the cd etc, in the end I said will you slow down or stop darn fiddling? I got a look of shock but hey its our lives for goodness sake! great hub, and voted up!

  • loveofnight profile image

    Loveofnight Anderson 

    7 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

    I so know what you mean about distracted driving, I recently lost my sports car because someone who was doing something on their phone ran into the back of my car, while I was stopped at a red light. My car was totaled. I lost an investment that I cannot afford to replace even tho I have another vehicle now, I am so angry and it could have been avoided if the other driver was not distracted by doing something illegal.

  • StephSev108 profile image

    Stephanie Marie Severson 

    7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

    He looks like he lives in Atlanta. LOL. Thanks for sharing. A lot of people need to read this hub.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    @ tillsontitan--Thank you very much. I agree at least 2000%!! Thanks for the votes and shareD

    @ PegCole17--You are so right; it makes no sense at all, and is really very scary! And yes, those drivers are either traveling at a snail's pace, holding up traffic as they weave about in their lane....or zooming along as if they were watching.. so dangerous! Thanks much for your comment.

    @ JayWisdom--It is sad indeed that people have lost their lives because some idiot thought it was more important to reply to a text message or make a phone call! Thanks much for your input, votes and share!

    There is a local country-western group in our area, whose lead singer wrote an original piece about this very issue! I recommend it highly--it gets the message across in a catchy tune.

    (They are since disbanded, sadly, as they were very, very good.) Come to think of it--I should edit the article and put the link within!

  • JayeWisdom profile image

    Jaye Denman 

    7 years ago from Deep South, USA

    The message in this hub is a very important one. I hope it gets lots of readers and they all share it.

    I've known families who lost loved ones because of drivers texting while driving. It's all too common, and not just among younger drivers. How can anyone possibly feel so infallible as to believe he or she can key in messages on a miniature keyboard while in the process of driving???

    Voted Up++ and shared

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 

    7 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

    You've picked a hot topic for this one, Ms. Lizzy. Texting has to be one of the most distracting sidelines a driver can undertake. Typing on a tiny keyboard while traveling forward many feet per second in a two thousand pound chunk of metal - it just doesn't make sense. It is easy to pick out the drivers who are not paying attention to the road ahead, and when they finallly hang up the phone, they seem to return to the posted speed limit. What a crazy world.

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 

    7 years ago from New York

    Great reminder Lizzy. So many will agree about texting while driving but don't count the other things as distractions. Cars are big and heavy and need our full attention! This is a good reminder.

    Voted up, useful, and interesting. Shared too.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi there, drbj!

    I know what you seems like it should be closer to 99% of accidents from this cause!

    What's really sad is seeing cops talking on their cell phones while driving! Talk about mixed messages!

    Thanks much for stopping by and adding your comment; I'm glad you liked the article.

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    7 years ago from south Florida

    I see so many folks driving while talking on their cell phones or texting or talking and texting, Liz, that I'm surprised the statistics regarding related accidents are not higher than 80%. Thanks for this much needed reminder.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Writer Fox!

    I agree. It is very dangerous, but so are any kinds of distractions. Cell phones are just the newest layer. When you multiply distracted drivers by the huge increase in numbers of cars on the roads these days, it is not surprising there are so many serious accidents.

    I appreciate your comment, and thanks for the vote!

  • Writer Fox profile image

    Writer Fox 

    7 years ago from the wadi near the little river

    I think that driving and texting is one of the most dangerous driving hazards of this decade. I see it almost everyday and it is scary! Enjoyed your article and voted up!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, adithgeorge,

    Thank you very much for stopping by. I'm glad you liked the article, and I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

  • adithgeorge profile image

    Adith Varghese George 

    7 years ago from Kochi,Kerala

    Thanks for the article.I myself find distracted while driving and thanks again for providing more information and tips.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Greetings, ChitrangadaSharan,

    Thank you very much. I'm pleased you liked the article and found it useful. Many thanks for your comment and vote!

  • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

    Chitrangada Sharan 

    7 years ago from New Delhi, India

    This is a very thoughtful hub and you have rightly pointed out the dangers of distracted driving, which unfortunately is quite prevalent everywhere. And despite the laws, people are not careful about it.

    Thanks for pointing out. Voted up!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello there billybuc,

    Yes, indeed--it does make the blood boil. What is really infuriating and frightening, is that we see COPS doing it!!!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and adding your comment.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    7 years ago from Olympia, WA

    A hub that needed to be written. I am a careful driver and always have been, and I have to tell you, this is one of my greatest complaints. Talking on a cell phone while driving....I can feel my blood pressure rising when I see it. We have a law against it here but as far as I can see the police do not enforce it. How many lives will have to be lost before people start following common sense and the law?


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