April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month: over 3,000 people die every year in crashes involving distracted drivers. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) reminds us U Text. U-Drive. U Pay. Learn how you can reduce this number. #justdrive

You can also watch the NHTSA Video clip (30 seconds) "U Drive. U Text. U Pay", click here.

For the past decade, distracted driving has taken U.S. roadways by storm, endangering not only the distracted drivers, but their passengers, pedestrians, and others using the road.

When we're behind the wheel, we must be focused on one task: safe driving. Anytime you divert your attention from driving, you're distracted. This includes texting, messaging, taking selfies, adjusting the radio, setting your navigation, applying makeup, eating, or drinking.  This does not just apply to driving cars and trucks on roadways,... equipment operators are also impacted.  If you are in motion, lowering-in pipe, holding pipe during a tie-in or other task, remain off of phones or other devices and remain focused on the task.  This distraction has injured many workers because the operator was distracted.

Texting, which includes messaging, is considered the most dangerous type of distracted driving because it combines visual, manual, and cognitive distractions.

Put Your Phone Away, or Get Ready to Pay

Graphic with text, keep your eyes on the road, don't text and drive.NHTSA’s U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign reminds drivers of the deadly dangers and the legal consequences – including fines – of texting behind the wheel. Forty-eight states, as well as Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, have passed laws making it illegal to text while driving. From April 7-11, you may notice an increase in police enforcing texting laws and reminding drivers of the dangers.

Since 2007, drivers 16 to 24 years old have been distracted by devices at higher rates than other drivers, but we're all at risk for distracted driving crashes. Consider these tips for safe driving:

•   If you must send or receive a text, pull over to a safe location and park your car first.
•   If you have passengers, appoint a “designated texter” to handle all your texting.
•   If you can’t resist the temptation to look at your phone, keep it in the trunk.
 
STAY SAFE
The fight to end distracted driving starts with you. Make the commitment to drive phone-free today.

TAKE THE PLEDGE    
    Protect lives by never texting or talking on the phone while driving.
    Be a good passenger and speak out if the driver in my car is distracted.
    Encourage my friends and family to drive phone-free. 

What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.

Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 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 crashing.

Consequences
Using a cell phone while driving creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. In 2020, 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
 
Get Involved
We can all play a part in the fight to save lives by ending distracted driving.

Teens can be the best messengers with their peers, so we encourage them to speak up when they see a friend driving while distracted, to have their friends sign a pledge to never drive distracted, to become involved in their local Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter, and to share messages on social media that remind their friends, family, and neighbors not to make the deadly choice to drive distracted.

Parents first have to lead by example — by never driving distracted — as well as have a talk with their young driver about distraction and all of the responsibilities that come with driving. Have everyone in the family sign the pledge to commit to distraction-free driving. Remind your teen driver that in states with graduated driver licensing (GDL), a violation of distracted-driving laws could mean a delayed or suspended license.

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.

Make Your Voice Heard - If you feel strongly about distracted driving, be a voice in your community by supporting local laws, speaking out at community meetings, and highlighting the dangers of distracted driving on social media and in your local op-ed pages.

NHTSA In Action
NHTSA is dedicated to eliminating risky behaviors on our nation's roads

NHTSA leads the fight nationally against distracted driving by educating Americans about its dangers and partnering with the states and local police to enforce laws against distracted driving that help keep us safe.

NHTSA’s campaigns and public service announcements make the case to Americans that safe driving means driving without distractions. You’ve likely seen or heard our public service announcements, but we’re also on Facebook and Twitter sharing stories and tips to help save lives.

The foundation of NHTSA’s efforts on distracted driving and other risky driving behaviors is our partnership with the state and local police. The states determine laws affecting distracted driving, but NHTSA provides Federal investments in locally driven strategies that address the states’ specific needs. One of the highlights of this relationship comes during April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which pairs a national advertising campaign with a law enforcement crackdown called U Drive. U Text. U Pay.
The Law

Your state legislature and governor make the laws regarding distracted driving. Many states now have laws against texting, talking on a cell phone, and other distractions while driving. You can visit the Governors Highway Safety Association to learn about the laws in your state.


March Winners

Observation     Alejandro Chavira
Near Miss     Taylor Macdonald
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