Drivers have been known to change radio stations while in moving traffic, and a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration release lists that activity as one of many that can be a distraction to a person who should be focusing on the road. But texting and other mobile manipulations are identified as potential fatal distractions.
Other distractions that fall below the danger level posed by the ill-advised and inappropriate use of mobile devices included eating and talking to other passengers.
While reading or sending text messages is considered to be the most dangerous offense, using the standard voice features of a cell phone can also be a dangerous distraction. NHTSA said talking on the phone while driving was as dangerous as driving with a .08 blood alcohol concentration.
The agency asked that mobile devices simply be turned off when taking the wheel of a vehicle, and if there is a need to make a call or send a text, it strongly advised stopping the car first.
RBR-TVBR observation: Out of all the possible distractions, changing radio stations has to be among the most innocuous in this day and age – it’s just so easy to either hit a preset or surf the dial without needing to look. However, radio programming can sometimes provide its own dangers, like the time our Dad took a particular interest in an upbeat song that came on the radio, started singing along and ended up with a speeding ticket.
At the end of the day, Dad’s story says what’s good about radio. There was only one speeding ticket in who knows how many of decades of listening. And the fact that the programming was able to engage his attention to such a complete degree speaks well of its effectiveness as an advertising medium.