CAPH Study Addresses Distracted Driving

Posted: February 4, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Elena Barbre

Increasingly crowded highways paired with an explosion of new technologies and a shortage of time means that drivers’ attention is spread thinner than ever. A new study released by the Graduate School of Education’s Center for the Advancement of Public Health (CAPH) and authorized by the Virginia General Assembly offers insight into the problem of distracted driving and recommends strategies to reduce its dangers.

“Multitasking in the car is becoming the rule, and it should take a secondary role,” says David Anderson, director of CAPH. “We need to look at how we can cope with these challenges and maintain safety as the number one priority for drivers.”

“Distracted Driving: Review of Current Needs, Efforts, and Recommended Strategies,” funded by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, focuses on the lack of research on distracted driving, including the role cell phones and other telecommunications devices play. The researchers also note that education and awareness about distracted driving is limited, both on a personal and societal level.

Recommendations include conducting research to clearly define distracted driving and its impact on individuals; educating the public through awareness campaigns and driver education programs about the severity of the problem and safety considerations regarding multitasking and the use of technology in a car; enforcing laws that encompass distracted driving; and developing oversight and benchmarking of the issue at the state and local levels. The study is available on the CAPH web site.

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