An estimated 9% of Texans are not buckling up, and nearly 1,000 Texans killed in car crashes were known to not be properly restrained in 2014 (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
Let’s watch this 40-second video of the impact a seat belt can make.
Now imagine four close friends or family members in your car with you. Drivers and passengers who buckle up are 45% less likely to die and 50% less likely to be moderately injured in a motor vehicle crash. Do you want to play the odds with your family or friends? (Didn’t think so!)
How many of you own or take frequent rides in a pickup truck? Seat belt use is the lowest for pickup trucks among all types of vehicles. In fatal crashes, pickups roll over almost twice as often as passenger cars!
Conclusion: Seat belts—including child safety seats—are the least expensive and most effective way to save lives and reduce the severity of injuries. Do EVERYTHING you can, and buckle up!
Have you ever been in the car for a short time (ex: backing out of the driveway, going a few blocks to the store) where you don’t buckle up?
Before you drive away, do you turn around to make sure everyone in your car has a seat belt on?
If you are riding in a friend’s car or taxi cab, do you bother to buckle up? Do you have to?
Watch this video:
Texas law states that all passengers in a vehicle must be secured by a seat belt. Texas law enforcement officials will ticket anyone who isn’t wearing a seat belt, including adult passengers in the back seat and drivers with children improperly secured.
Happy Hour should be just that—happy. But not if you drive afterwards. (Unless you have an extra $17,000 sitting in your bank account.)
How much does it cost you if you’re convicted of a driving while intoxicated offense?
Think broadly to include not only the fines and court costs, but lost work time, increased auto insurance premiums, travel to court appearances, etc.
See if you can identify the different costs while watching this video:
DWI and crashes due to alcohol are costly—very costly!
Penalties for a first-time DWI conviction in Texas can include up to a $2,000 fine, jail time between 3 days and 180 days, a license suspension for up to 2 years, an annual surcharge up to $2,000 for 3 years to keep your license, DWI intervention or education program, and a possible order for an ignition interlock device. Legal fees and other DWI-related expenses often total more than $17,000.
Alcohol and DWI problems don’t just affect young people. Rather it affects everyone in the life of the affected person—including the person’s colleagues and employer.
It takes help, support, and at times, intervention to ensure that colleagues, friends and loved ones don’t drive under the influence.
Watch this video, and then try the exercise yourself or with a group. (You will need paper and pencil for this one, plus a stopwatch or watch with a second hand.)
Time the following with your stopwatch:
Write out the following sentence, “Switchtasking is a thief”. Then write the numbers 1 through 21 on the line beneath.
Next, time the following with your stopwatch:
Now write the same sentence and numbers on two new separate lines of the paper, but this time alternating writing one letter and one number at a time (ex: “S” with a “1” on line below, “W” with a “2” below, etc.
When you’re finished, discuss:
Did it take almost twice as much time to complete this task when you were “switchtasking”?
Did the quality decrease (sloppier handwriting, mistakes)?
Did you feel more stressed in doing the task the second time around?
How does this correspond to driving? Any activity that takes your mind off of the task of driving is a form of multitasking or switchtasking. You will be more apt to make slower choices, mistakes and have increased stress.
Earpiece, dashboard system, voice-to-text, or speaker phone.
Hands-free technology and driving: The brain quickly toggles between tasks – but can’t do two things at the same time. According to the National Safety Council, the activity in the area of the brain that processes moving images decreases by up to 1/3 when listening to talking on a phone. Drivers looking out the windshield can miss seeing up to 50% of what’s around them when talking on ANY kind of a cell phone.
Watch this quick video on hands-free technologies:
How is hands-free device operation more dangerous than just talking to a passenger? During a face-to-face conversation, you rely on many non-verbal cues to understand the other person. While talking on a cell phone, you cannot read these cues so you focus more attention on the conversation than usual. This distracts your mind from focusing on driving. Also, passengers can see your driving environment. They are aware of the situation around you and will tend to adjust the conversation to fit the risk level of driving. A passenger can even serve as an additional lookout for hazards, like a co-pilot. As a result, passengers could possibly reduce crash risk for adult drivers.
How many thinking tasks can your brain focus on at one time?
The answer is – one. If your brain has more than one thinking task to choose from, it gets overwhelmed and filters information out.
In terms distraction at the wheel, what’s the difference between chewing gum and talking on the phone?
Chewing gum is not cognitively demanding. You don’t have to think about it!
Would you want a surgeon who is operating on you to be buying something online at the same time?
I didn’t think so. Driving is a job that requires your full attention.
Watch this video:
Just like in the Monkey Business Illusion, if your brain is so focused on one task, it misses other events happening. Multitasking is a serious distraction to drivers.
If you take your mind off the primary task of driving – you may be “looking” but not “seeing,” and therefore miss important information in your driving environment. When people attempt to perform two complex tasks such as driving and talking on a phone, the brain shifts its focus and drivers develop “inattention blindness”.
Distraction occurs any time you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off your primary task: driving safely. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.
Driver inattention was a contributing factor in 91,833 Texas crashes in 2014 (Texas Department of Transportation).
Distractions now join alcohol and speeding as leading factors in fatal and serious injury crashes.
Watch this video:
What can you do to avoid these potential distractions?
Don’t drive while calling or texting. Pull off the road to a safe location. Take a Message. Let your voice mail pick up your calls. It’s easier and safer to retrieve your messages later on.
Keep your phone secure. Make sure your phone is secure—in a bag, your pocket or the glove compartment so it doesn’t slide off seats and compel the driver to reach for it while driving.
Don’t take notes while driving. If you need to write something down, pull off the road to a safe spot.
Don’t eat or drink while driving. Spills can easily cause a crash if you have to stop quickly.
Groom yourself at home. Shaving, applying makeup, and brushing your hair are distractions that should not be done while driving.