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Distracted drivers are a danger to us all

The streets of Brooklyn are busy, so there isn't any place on them for drivers who aren't paying attention to the roadway. These drivers pose a risk to everyone else who is on the road with them, including other drivers, occupants of vehicles and pedestrians.

The distracted driving issue isn't new. However, it has gotten worse since people are tied to their phones. This is only one of the things that can distract drivers. Here are some points to consider about distracted driving.

The effects on the driver are remarkable

Distractions can impact the ability of a person to drive in three ways -- visual, cognitive and manual. Visual is the person's ability to see what is going on. Cognitive is the ability of the person to be able to think about what is going on and execute a plan to deal with the situation. Manual is the ability to control the vehicle using the hands and feet.

In some cases, these three all come together to form a perfect storm of sorts. Think about a driver who is texting. The driver has to look at the text, comprehend what is being relayed, and manipulate the phone. Other distractions include putting on makeup, eating food, drinking beverages, chatting with other occupants or reaching for things in the vehicle.

The scope of the problem

Distracted driving can be deadly or lead to serious injuries, especially on congested roads and when driving at higher speeds. It takes the average person around five seconds to read a text message. In this amount of time, a vehicle that is traveling 55 miles per hour will go the length of a football field. Think of all the other vehicles and obstacles that could be struck in this amount of time.

Younger drivers are more at risk

The highest proportion of fatal accidents with distracted driving as a contributing factor involve drivers who are under 20 years old. These drivers are also more likely than others to skip wearing the seat belt and participate in hazardous driving activities.

State law says pay attention when you drive

New York law makes it illegal to use a hand-held device while driving. Not only do drivers face a ticket if they are caught using a hand-held device, they also have two points placed on their driving record. One reason for this is that a whopping 80 percent of crashes in this state were due to a driver who wasn't paying attention.

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