National Safety Council Supports National Stop on Red Week

August 1, 2010

Council urges motorists to avoid inattention blindness caused by cell phone use while driving

ITASCA, Ill., Aug. 1, /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The National Safety Council today announced its support for National Stop on Red Week Aug. 1 – 7, an event organized by the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running. NSC believes talking on handheld and hands-free cell phones while driving is a contributing factor to red-light running.

Drivers using hands-free or handheld cell phones experience a form of cognitive distraction called inattention blindness, meaning they “look at” but do not “see” up to 50 percent of the information in their driving environment. These drivers miss visual cues critical to safety and navigation. They tend to miss exits and go through red lights and stop signs.

“Our brains aren’t designed to perform two cognitively complex tasks at the same time, such as driving while having a cell phone conversation,” said Janet Froetscher, NSC president and CEO. “The brain shifts between tasks and, in doing so, filters information out because it is too overwhelmed. As a result, drivers can’t take corrective action. That’s why you hear of people getting into car crashes who were using their cell phones. Their brains didn’t process critical driving cues. When a driver fails to notice events in the driving environment, it’s impossible to execute a safe response – such as stopping for a red light.”

“This week provides us with the opportunity to remind all motorists that their first responsibility while driving is safety – theirs, their passengers and other motorists. I encourage everyone to make this the week they decide to stop using their handheld and hands-free cell phones while driving. It’s just not safe for anyone,” continued Froetscher.

For more information on “Understanding the Distracted Brain: Why driving while using hands-free cell phones is risky behavior,” a white paper written by the National Safety Council about the dangers of cell phone use while driving, please visit: thebrain.nsc.org.

The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads, through leadership, research, education and advocacy.

SOURCE National Safety Council

Source: newswire

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