Driving While Stupid Not a Good Idea

You may recall a story I posted last month about road rage giving way to Ambien-impaired zombies, making your commuting pretty perilous. Evidently, taking a worthless sleep drug isn't the only thing affecting a person's ability to drive safely, according to a joint report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

Distracted driving caused by time-starved people attempting to multi-task -- eating, talking on a cellular phone or changing the radio station -- was blamed for almost 80 percent of all car accidents and near-crashes.

Researchers tracked the behavior of nearly 250 drivers piloting 100 vehicles in the Washington, D.C. metro area for nearly 2 million miles. More than 80 crashes were reported, along with an amazing 761 near-accidents. More interesting numbers:

  • Dialing a number on a mobile phone while driving almost triples your risk of an accident.
  • Reaching for a moving object increases your risk of a car accident or near-crash by a factor of nine.
  • Driving while sleepy elevates your crash risks by as much as six times.

Some safe, healthy and completely natural things you can do to minimize your driving risks.

Wired News April 21, 2006

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