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Indiana Department of Labor

DOL > Worker Safety Initiatives > Drive Now - TXT L8R Social Media Contest > Distracted Driving Distracted Driving

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You may be asking, "What is distracted driving?" Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a motorist engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving. Stressful jobs, busy lifestyles and technology are just a few of the reasons why individuals may engage in distracted driving activities. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that in 2012 (the most recent year data is available), 3,328 people died in crashes linked to driver distraction and 421,000 more people suffered a distracted driving-related injury. In fact, 17 percent of all crashes where someone was injured involved driver distraction.   

According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (2013), the leading cause of worker fatality in Indiana is highway vehicle crashes.

Main Types of Driver Distraction

There are primarily three types of distracted driving.

  • Cognitive distraction is taking your mind off the road.
  • Visual distraction is taking your eyes off the road.
  • Manual distraction is taking your hands off the wheel.

It is important to note that all three types of distraction don't have to happen for a driver to be dangerously distracted.  

Distracted Driving Activities

There are many activities that are likely to distract someone from driving. Common distractions that lead to crashes include:

  • Using a cell phone to talk, text or browse the Internet
  • Eating or drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming (e.g., applying make-up, brushing hair, flossing, etc.)
  • Reading, including maps
  • Using a PDA or navigation system (GPS)
  • Watching a video and
  • Changing the radio station, CD or Mp3 player

Texting While Driving

While all distracted driving is dangerous, texting is the most alarming because It involves all three types of distraction at the same time.

Think about it: 

  • You're not looking at the road
  • Your hands aren't on the wheel
  • You're not thinking about driving

How big is the problem?

In just one month, June 2011, Americans sent over a billion texts. How many times have you sent or read one while driving? How many times have you seen a friend send or read one?

Putting it in Context

People who text while driving are 23 times more likely to crash!


Studies have found that your reaction time will be about 30 percent worse if you're trying to text and drive and you'll spend an average of 10 percent of your time out of your lane.

There are now more crashes related to texting and driving than drinking and driving.

When you look down to send or read a text while you drive, you take your eyes off the road for an average of almost five seconds. Doesn't seem very long, does it? How about this - If you're driving 55 MPH you just traveled the length of a football field! You wouldn't close your eyes and run across a busy street. Why would you do the same thing by looking down at your phone?

Regardless of what you may think, no one is "good" at texting and driving. Consider this: When asked, the vast majority of people who admit to texting and driving claim to be able to do it safely. However, when tested on a simulator that uses everyday hazards (people crossing the road, animals running across the road, traffic suddenly stopping) almost no one can do it without crashing if texting at the same time. Everyone thinks "but, i'm the exception!" Rest assured, you are not.  

Finally, not only is texting or reading messages while driving dangerous, it is against the law.

Effective July 1, 2011: It is unlawful to type, transmit, or read e-mail or text messages on a communication device while driving in Indiana. Violators may face fines of up to $500.

Texting and driving is dangerous for you, your passengers and those around you. If that isn't enough, it's expensive, ilegal and everyone is bad at it. Why would you even want to? 


  • Download the contest flier here
  • Download the 11x8.5 Drive Now Text Later campaign poster here
  • Download the 17x11 Drive Now Text Later campaign poster here 
  • Download the 36x24 Drive Now Text Later campaign poster here
  • Download the Drive Now Text Later logo here
  • View an Indiana Department of Labor's Distracted Driving video as well as other videos, please visit our YouTube Channel by clicking here.
  • Think you can safely drive and text at the same time? Try this online distracted driving simulator.

Additional Resources

For more information about texting while driving or distracted driving, please visit DISTRACTION.GOV.

Helpful links and resources may be found by clicking on the links below

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