Using a cell phone or an electronic device while driving creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on our roadways. In 2017 alone, 3,166 people were killed nationwide in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April is a national effort to recognize the dangers of distracted driving in hopes of preventing those related deaths and injuries.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), “distracted driving” is ANY activity that diverts attention from your driving. This includes talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, or adjusting the stereo, entertainment or navigation system.
Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of getting into an accident.
Preventing tragedies caused by distracted driving involves a family-wide and community-wide effort. Here are some suggestions by NHTSA in how you can do your part:
Parents must lead by example — by never driving distracted — as well as having a talk with their teen driver about distraction and all the responsibilities that come with driving. Have everyone in your family sign a pledge to commit to distraction-free driving.
Distracted driving via use of cell phones and texting has quickly become the number one cause of accidents among teens, now causing one in five motor vehicle crashes. Teens can be the best messengers to their peers, so they should speak up when they see a friend driving while distracted. They can also have their friends sign a pledge to never drive distracted, become involved in their local safe driving chapter and share messages on social media that remind their friends, family, and neighbors to never drive while distracted.
Educators and Employers
Educators and employers can play a part, too. Spread the word at your school or workplace about the dangers of distracted driving. Ask your students to commit to distraction-free driving or set a company policy on distracted driving.
You can also address distracted driving by supporting local laws, speaking out at community meetings, and highlighting the dangers on social media and in your local op-ed pages.
Take the Drive Aloha pledge and commit to safe, distraction-free driving. To learn other traffic safety tips, go to our website at www.drivealoha.com.