Distracted Driving Course

St. Vincent Trauma Services is committed to the reduction of serious injuries and deaths on Montana roadways through our Distracted Driving Course. The goal is to increase awareness among young adults and encourage them to drive safe. St. Vincent Healthcare is a Level 2 trauma facility verified by the American College of Surgeons that provides care to south central and eastern Montana and much of northern Wyoming. This area covers approximately 250,000 square miles.

Each day in the United States, more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).

Distraction is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a specific type of inattention that occurs when drivers divert their attention away from the task of driving to focus on another activity instead. These distractions can be electronic distractions, such as navigation systems and cell phones, or more conventional distractions, such as interacting with passengers and eating.

The St. Vincent Trauma Services Distract Driving Course provides firsthand experience with the dangers of texting as young adults navigate a golf cart through a designated obstacle course of orange cones. After driving the course once, participants are then asked to drive the course a second time while texting a friend. As they start taking out rows of orange cones it becomes very apparent to the drivers that texting and navigating are a dangerous combination.

Distracted driving statistics:

  • Using a cell phone while driving, whether its hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver's reaction as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.
  • During daylight hours, an estimated 11 percent of vehicles on U.S. roadways - one in 10 have a driver who is using a phone.
  • Nearly 80% of crashes and 65% of near crashes involved some form of driver inattention within 3 seconds before the event.
  • Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
  • Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.

Additional resources:
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

If you're interested in bringing The St. Vincent Trauma Services Distracted Driving Course to your school or community please contact (406) 237-4171.