Professor speaks to BGSU students about distracted driving

Professor speaks to BGSU students about distracted driving

BOWLING GREEN, OH (WTOL) - A professor from the University of Kansas who has studied distracted driving for nearly two decades spoke at Bowling Green State University on Tuesday.

This corresponds with April being Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Dr. Paul Atchley shared just how dangerous driving without full focus on the road can be, including a 400 percent increase in your risk of crashing.

"Best case scenario if you're using your phone while driving is you're driving as bad as a drunk driver and it gets worse from there," said Dr. Atchley.

Dr. Atchley says it's time distracted driving is looked at as seriously as drunk driving.

Unfortunately, it is not just young drivers who are driving distracted.

"When we talk to teens about why they're driving and texting, they say 'Because I saw my mom do it.' That's the most common response," Dr. Atchley said.

Technology can be a great thing. Dr. Atchley says how much time drivers spend on their phones is reversing other advancements.

"We have safer cars, safer roads, better emergency services, you're more likely to survive a crash if you have one. And yet we're killing more people than ever before," said Dr. Atchley.

Local law enforcement sat down to listen to Atchley explain how serious these distractions on the road can be.

Ohio State Highway Patrol has seen a five percent increase in crashes related to just that, but it is not just phones causing issues.

Angel Burgos, Post Commander for OSHP, said, "Playing with the radio, reaching for a cup of coffee, doing makeup and even eating breakfast lunch and dinner in their vehicle."

It's not just drivers who can help this problem.

Dr. Atchley says never to text someone if you know they are on the road.

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