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The three main types of distracted driving

While most Colorado drivers are aware of the dangers posed by distracted driving, many may be unaware that this risky driving behavior can come in many forms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the three main types of distracted driving as well as some risk factors associated with these behaviors.

According to the CDC, distracted driving can be cognitive, visual or manual. Cognitive distractions include anything that takes your focus away from the task at hand, visual distraction entails taking your eyes away from the road and manual distractions are those that require you to take your hands from the wheel. Distracted driving becomes most dangerous when all three behaviors converge, which is often the case when texting or emailing while on the road.

In general, the younger the driver, the more likely they will engage in distracted driving activities, with almost half of all high school students aged 16 and up admitting to sending a text or email while driving. Those with a proclivity for texting while driving are also more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, such as driving while intoxicated.

One look at recent statistics shows just how dangerous distracted driving can be. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, 10 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2013 could be linked to distracted drivers. Electronic device usage was cited in many of these cases, with 411 vehicle fatalities involving mobile phone use that same year. The age group most affected by distracted driving was drivers in their 20s, who made up 38 percent of those fatalities involving cell phones.  

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