Distracted Driving in North Dakota


Under new, expanded North Dakota law, a driver can be fined $100 for being distracted at the wheel.

Happening now…Emily Medalen is live to tell us just what is considered “distracted” in our state, and what the ND Safety Council has to say about it.

Good morning Tim and Amber, in 2015, distracted driving caused 35 hundred deaths in the US.

I spoke with the training director for the safety council about why he thinks distracted driving will continue to be an issue in North Dakota, even with a hefty fine coming along with it.
Here’s what I found out.

“We know it’s causing crashes, we know it’s causing injuries, and we know it’s killing people,” said Don Moseman, Training Director, ND Safety Council.

Car accidents due to distracted driving are on an upward trend in the US.

“I think we just need to recognize that this is a huge, huge safety problem,” said Moseman.

After speaking with a member of the North Dakota Safety council, I learned that data shows about 25% of all car accidents are related to phones.

“Keep in mind, that is only the drivers that, on the scene of crashes, have admitted to it. The insurance institute for highway safety estimates that the true number is more like 65 or 70%,” said Moseman.

A study released by AT&T last year says 30% of millenials use their phone to check social media while driving.
Moseman says this is even worse than texting, because it generally means you’re looking at your phone for a longer amount of time.

“One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand, four. So, in four seconds, at interstate speed, I’m traveling close to the length of three football fields in four seconds. That’s plenty of time for something to go wrong,” said Moseman.

The new law in North Dakota does allow drivers to operate their phones hands-free.
Moseman says this will not decrease accidents caused by cell phone use.

“The problem is not the physical holding of the object, the problem is the conversation.”

He says although he is pleased that the new law is more strict, there are still more steps that need to be taken for safer roads.

“I think as a society, we just gotta wrap our arms around the fact that, we need to make an adjustment here. We love the technology, we don’t have to get rid of the technology, we just have to use it smarter,” said Moseman.

I asked Moseman what he recommends if you are using your phone for navigation, and he says to view the route on your phone before you take off, and if need be, pull over occasionally to check if you need to.

Tim and Amber, I’ll be back later in the show with more on how to power down when you’re at the wheel.

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