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Home / News and Events / General News / April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
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April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
 
April 10, 2014

What is Distracted Driving?

Anything that takes your mind, eyes, and hands off the task of safely driving puts you and those around you at a heightened risk of a collision.

Why is it a problem?

  • At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phone or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010!
  • About 11percent  of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
  • Engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times.

But not all distractions go “buzz” or “beep”. Some distractions bark, some scream and some taste really good! Get the idea here? While cell phones and electronic devices are the most talked about distractions, they are not the only ones. Here’s a list of just some of the other distractions that drivers encounter on a daily basis: eating and drinking, talking to passengers, daydreaming, grooming, reading (including maps), using a GPS navigation system, watching a video, adjusting a radio/cd player/MP3 player.

So what can you do?
The good news about distracted driving collisions is that they are ALL preventable! By doing a few simple things for every drive, every time, you can ensure that the road is safer for you, your family, and those around you.

Sign a pledge
Having you and your family commit to a distraction free drive every time is a great way to prevent collisions. There are several agencies that have pledges (CDC, Allstate) but you can also make your own. Involve the whole family in creating a pledge so they will feel empowered to sign it, having had a hand in creating it! This is also an easy way to help spark a family conversation and engage your teen drivers.  And, just because you have young ones who don’t drive yet doesn’t mean that you can’t influence them and vice versa. Believe it or not, they are constantly watching your behaviors (even behind the wheel) so role model what you would want them to practice when they eventually begin driving.

Minimize Distractions
I bet you’re wondering how this is possible in such a fast-paced society we thrive in today. And especially with soccer practice, dinner on the go, work meetings and emails to catch up on this might seem completely unthinkable. But simple preparations before your drive can make a huge difference.

  • Inform others you will be unavailable via email or phone while driving.
  • Prepare activities or snacks for young children so you can keep your mind on the road.
  • Secure pets in the back, not on your lap.
  • Pass your phone to a passenger or a ‘designated texter’ if there is something so important that must be answered right away.
  • Put your phone on silent, without the vibrate, or better yet turn it off!
  • Pull over to a safe area, away from traffic, if you need to perform a task that takes your mind, eyes, or hands away from the task of driving safely. Nothing is so important that it can’t wait.


Related Links:
Teen Motor Vehicle Safety Program
Distracted Driving Facts & Stats
Tips From a Former Distracted Driver

Tags: Adolescent and Young Adult Health, Injury Prevention
 
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