Awareness Helps Prevent Distracted Driving

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Defensive Driving Online

Distracted driving is a hot button issue that has garnered a significant amount attention in recent years, and is currently at the forefront of the news because April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.  This national campaign has been ushered in by the Department of Transportation to help develop awareness and increase public safety to combat the deadly statistics of this dangerous practice.  According to the US Department of Transportation, 5,474 people were killed in U.S. roadways and an estimated additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to have involved distracted driving during 2009.

Much of the legislation that has been established in the quest for a zero-tolerance stance on distracted driving is focused on banning the use of cell phones and texting while driving.  The Governor’s Highway Safety Association reports that 30 states have implemented a ban on texting while driving, and 8 states have banned the use of handheld phones completely.  In spite of increased legislation and strong police enforcement banning cell phone use and texting while driving in many states, the practice persists, and the results are deadly.

In addition to the highly publicized dangers of mobile phone use while driving, it is important to remember that there are many commonplace actions that constitute distracted driving that you need to approach with caution and avoid whenever possible. These can include, eating, talking to your passengers, personal grooming, watching a video or consulting your GPS.

The DOT campaign against distracted driving is attempting to reach out to people on a more personal level with their initiative, “Faces of Distracted Driving”.  This campaign, which can be viewed on their website, distraction.gov, tells the stories of real people whose lives have been negatively impacted (injuries suffered, loved ones lost) as a consequence of some form of distracted driving.  Many local governments and school districts are partnering with this program during the month of April, and beyond, to help spread the message and eliminate the prevalence of distracted driving on our roadways.

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