Introduce Babblin’ Betsy, Dispel Myth of Multitasking

Say hello to Babblin’ Betsy. She is that girl. She doesn’t believe her cell phone is a distraction while driving. She thinks hands-free devices make it even easier for her to multitask.

At a safety talk or through your communications efforts, introduce Betsy to your employees and, at the same time, introduce them to our e-learning module on distracted driving. Betsy is reserved in the office, in fact, a bit shy. She talks a lot on her cell phone in the car and believes she is an excellent multitasker.

The truth is multitasking is a myth. Your brain cannot handle more than one thinking task at a time – it toggles quickly back and forth between these types of tasks. This differs from walking and chewing gum because one is a thinking task and the other is not. The part of your brain you need to talk on the phone is the same part you use to focus on driving.

When talking on the phone while behind the wheel, your reaction time can be delayed. Your brain’s toggling mechanism is at work. Even a minor delay – one split second – often is the difference between a crash and a near miss.

Our e-learning module includes a multitasking test. Put your employees through the test to see how they fare. Then, finish up with a couple of 2016 data points from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office:

  • Across the state, more than 1,700 crashes involving electronic distraction occur year year — that’s more than 4.6 every day
  • Crashes involving driver distraction by an electronic device are highest between the hours of 4-7:59 p.m., a time when many of your employees are on their way home from work on running to pick up their kids

Our Driving Concern e-learning lessons are fully compatible with your mobile device. Each lesson lasts five to seven minutes. Some other topics covered:

  • Drowsy Driving
  • Aggressive Driving
  • Impaired Driving

Looking for another way to boost your efforts during Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April? Download this Live with Lisa video and play it on your workplace monitors: Inattention Blindness: It’s the Same as Driving with Your Eyes Closed.

— Lisa Robinson is a senior program manager with the National Safety Council