ATTENTION on your driving saves $$ and lives

Check out additional info in the comments too – in answer to a great question

driveBrainYour Brain REALLYglobe2_100
Can NOT Do it!

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
From the What Kind of World Series

Heads Up!  The information reproduced below is NOT new news – yet things are getting WORSE!

Science has been studying the driving/multi-tasking dangers for years now, publishing their findings in scientific journals.

FINALLY, it is getting some serious attention from the mainstream press!

MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) did us all a huge service by getting laws on the books that cracked down on drinking and driving. Briefly, our roads were safer and traffic deaths went down.

Despite their efforts, however, we are all now at greater risk than ever because of mobile technology.

  • You probably figured out on your own that dialing, texting,
    or updating your Facebook status while driving is a seriously stupid idea.
    After all, you’d have to take your eyes off the road.
  • BUT WERE YOU AWARE that, according to scientific reaction-time studies, talking on a cell-phone while driving – EVEN hands-free – is riskier than driving with a blood-alcohol content over the legal limit?

DON’T DO IT – and don’t let the driver of a car you ride in do it either.

Just Say NO!

Those of us with attention deficits to begin with really need to heed the warning – and that category includes ALL teens, by the way, whose prefrontal cortices aren’t yet fully developed.

We simply can’t take the risk that we will act on the impulse to answer that cell phone – turn it OFF or hand it to a passenger to tell callers you are not available while you are driving.

Don’t even chance it. Make it a habit by making it your POLICY.

The lives at risk are not ALL yours to gamble!

In another article, I will explain what science has to say about WHY your brain can’t handle EVEN the hands-free multi-tasking of driving and talking to someone who is somewhere else.

For NOW, trust me and stop it, OK?  If the conversation really can’t wait until you arrive at your destination, pull over and call them back.

I REALLY don’t want the world losing its most creative citizens to traffic accidents!!

Remember – links on this site are dark grey to reduce distraction potential
while you’re reading. They turn red on mouseover.

Holmes-fist-noseWhat Will it Take?

Despite the fact that most of us have heard (and accept) the warnings about the incompatibility of hand-held phones and driving, a great many of us behave as if we are somehow immune to the laws of nature.

I’m not one who believes it’s acceptable to tell individuals what to do with their own lives, but I believe we ALL need to draw the line where a swinging fist has a high likelihood of landing on somebody else’s face.

Traffic accidents involve innocent “faces.”
How come we act as if we don’t GET that?

Based on their accident statistics, Canadian Transportation Ministry officials estimate that drivers are over 4 times likelier to crash when talking on a hand-held phone while driving, and 23 times more likely to be in a crash if texting.

But do we heed the warnings?  Apparently not very well.

A 2012 survey for ICBC* found that British Columbia motorists do consider texting while driving to be just as risky as drinking and driving, yet 40% of those who own cellphones admit they’ve used a hand-held phone while driving.

“Driving is a complex task that requires your full attention,”
says Mark Blucher, appointed in October 2012 as interim president and CEO of ICBC*.

“When you’re distracted behind the wheel
your reaction time is significantly reduced.

Distracted driving is a common cause of rear-end crashes and injuries – there is no safe following distance when your mind is not on the road.”

*The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia — established in 1973 to provide universal auto insurance to B.C. motorists, also responsible for driver licensing, and vehicle licensing and registration.

Hands-free in-car technology is ALSO not risk-free

with thanks to an article by Liza Barth
Consumer Reports News: June 12, 2013

It is clear that taking your eyes off the road while driving is dangerous and distracting,
but are hands-free technologies that make it easier to text and talk distracting, as well?

Studies say, ABSOLUTELY!

ICBC says that, along with driver inattention and other sources of  internal or external distraction, its statistics count the use of communications or video equipment among their sources of driver distraction. A new report finds that, even with both hands on the wheel, mental distractions can dangerously undermine a driver’s attention.

A recent study found that even when a driver’s hands are on the wheel,
when using voice-activated technologies . . .

  • reaction time slows,
  • brain function is compromised, and
  • drivers miss visual cues on the road.

ScienceBrainDriveUniversity of Utah/AAA Study

Partnered with the AAA Foundation, researchers at the University of Utah measured brainwaves, eye movement, and reaction time to evaluate a driver’s mental workload as they tried to multitask behind the wheel.

The methodology was modeled on the established science of aviation psychology, adapted to study the mental load when performing a range of in-car activities.

The results were ranked on a scale of mental distraction, ranging from 1 to 3.

  • The task of listening to the radio is defined as a category “1” –
    with a minimal risk.
  • Talking on a cell-phone hands-free OR handheld was a “2” –
    a moderate risk
  • Listening, and responding to in-vehicle voice-activated
    email features was categorized as a “3” – an extensive risk.

Based on these findings, AAA is appealing to the public

  1. NOT to use voice-to-text features, concerned about a public crisis as infotainment systems in vehicles are projected to increase five-fold by 2018.
  2. For public protection vital to public safety, they urge the automotive and electronics industries to design their technology to limit voice-activated technology solely to core driving-related functions, such as setting the temperature or cruise control.
  3. In addition, they recommend disabling voice-to-text for social media, email, and text messaging while a vehicle is in motion.

YOUR Assignment: JOIN the movement; Take the pledge to
actively avoid distracted driving for the sake of EVERYBODY’s safety on the road


click pamphlet to download pdf

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently set distracted driving guidelines for automakers to follow when developing their interactive in-car dash systems.

The agency is now working on guidelines for connecting and accessing a smart phone and other portable electronic device features in vehicles and using voice-control systems.

The new guidelines include recommendations to limit the time a driver must take his eyes off the road to perform any task to 2 seconds at a time — and 12 seconds TOTAL.

They encourage automakers to design future technology to disable manual texting, social media access, web browsing features, and video-based calling unless a vehicle is stopped and in park.

For more research and to learn what you can do to be safe behind the wheel, see The Consumer Report’s special section on distracted driving.

Other related articles from Consumer Reports:
(links to other internet articles & content below)

As always, if you want notification of new articles in this Series – or any new posts on this blog – give your email address to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right. (You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too). STRICT No Spam Policy

IN ANY CASE, stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series (one-on-one couples or group), click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end (or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page). Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)

You might also be interested in some of the following articles
available right now – on this site and elsewhere.

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(subtle, so they don’t pull focus while you read, but you can find them to click when you’re ready for them)
— and check out the links to other Related Content in each of the articles themselves —

Related articles right here on
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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

5 Responses to ATTENTION on your driving saves $$ and lives

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    • Thanks. I appreciate the kind words and the help getting the word out to others that this information is helpful, and available at no charge.

      By policy, only those who identify themselves by name in their comments, whose sites are related, are eligible for live – clickable – links- a policy designed to protect against link-spam. During this time that my dominant hand is still not usable, it must be enforced across the board. I hope you can understand.



  3. Really concerning statistics. In New Zealand it is illegal to talk or text on the phone while driving…although it does not seem to be ‘policed’ very well. People appear to drive around talking on their phones while driving with apparent impunity. In fact, my other half and I were out shopping the other day and were nearly squashed by a truck driver maneuvering a double articulated while having a chat on the phone.

    I did have a few questions though. Is the level of distraction different if we are in the car talking with someone? Or listening to the radio? (I know myself that I have to turn music off, or ask someone to stop talking to me in tricky driving situations). And what about the level of distraction when we are just thinking our own thoughts about work, tea, or what we’re going to do at the weekend?

    In which case, should we all be switching to self-driving cars asap ;-p!?


    • Good questions, Hazel.

      #1 – Radio (or anything you CAN turn down/off easily and w/o feeling “rude” which might cause deliberation, etc) is relatively safe. Risk increases with level of necessary concentration on the “distraction” however (books on tape, rowdiness in back seat, etc.).

      The UU/AAA study found radio to be a category “1″ – minimal risk. Ditto, it seems (not that study) re: interacting with a passenger in the front seat next to you (who sees what you see and instinctively quiets when you need them to — or hushes when you tell them to).

      No more distracting, in other words, than your own thoughts etc. Most of us drive “mildly” distracted once we’ve learned to do it, because the task is fairly mind-numbing (ask high-speed racers how much mind wandering THEY experience, however!)

      Most of us know that instinctively — we listen on long, relatively straight stretches of Interstate/highway etc. and turn it way down or off when we must navigate with concentration (rationale for many of the “deer crossing” and “curvy road ahead” signs posted to decrease accidents with warnings to drivers).

      The danger is whether we get rid of our destractions IN TIME – but it seems to be no more risky than whether we’ll snap out of a mind-dance in time.

      The REAL risks have to do with the competing attentional pathways in our brains – but too much to go into here. I’ll blog an article (or two) eventually. Fascinating and way counter-intuitive results, according to studies with scans.

      RE: self-driving cars – assuming the technology does not malfunction and we don’t get complacent abut the fact that it might – opinions are mixed.

      I can only relate to my own level of concentration when I engage cruise control on road trips. Sometimes I’m more engaged (how far can I drive before I have to tap the brakes & disengage – like a game that has me “drive ahead” and pay closer attention at the first sign of a truck, etc.) and sometimes my mind “cruises” too, until I suddenly “snap to” when something gets dicey. (The degree of increase in my heartbeat tells me how close I thought I came to danger!)

      Now that the genie’s out of the bottle, however, we can’t go back to the days of horse and buggy. The main thing is to be AWARE of the increased risks (factoring in the idiot others – new parameters re: “driving defensively”) – and set our driving habits to give ourselves the best shot at safety.

      AND, to do what we can to make others aware of what science knows about new risks so we reduce the NUMBER of idiot others — who might make a safer choice if they were aware of the risks.

      We can’t control the choices of others, however, even when we attempt to legislate them After all, people still drive drunk, right? It seems denial is MORE than a river in Egypt.

      So good to hear from YOU – a fellow conscious choices traveler!!


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