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Distraction and driving-more than cellphones

Distracted driving remains a problem here in Pennsylvania. With thousands of accidents attributable to distracted driving every year, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation created a website to help educate drivers about the hazards of distraction.

Currently, there is a high-degree of concern with the use of cellphones and other electronic devices whose use can lead to driver distraction. Cellphones and smartphones are more noticeable, for some at least, because of their novelty, but they are not the only concern.

The PennDOT website lists numerous other activities that can all contribute to distracted driving and potentially to car accidents. The site reminds everyone that texting-while-driving is banned in Pennsylvania, and that this includes texting, instant messaging, sending or reading an email and using the internet.

While the ban does not include use of a GPS, it is important to remember that even that tool must be used carefully and appropriately, or instead of helping you reach your destination, it may help you drive off the road or worse.

There are many other distractions, such as eating, drinking your morning coffee or smoking a cigarette that can distract and that existed long before the arrival of the cellphone. Fiddling with a radio can be distracting, as can brushing your hair, putting on makeup or shaving.

Even something as seemingly innocent as looking at a billboard or building on the side of the road can create a distraction from the road ahead. And car accident in the other lane, with the flashing lights of emergency vehicles and wrecked cars and trucks can make for an irresistible attraction.

But don't do it. Many secondary car accidents happen because of such distraction. The website has a wealth of information and serves as a good reminder on ways to avoid becoming a distracted driving statistic.

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