Distracted Driving Awareness Month

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Being a driver behind the wheel is a significant responsibility to undertake. After all, “Eight percent of injury crashes, and 14 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2018 were reported as distraction-affected crashes,” states the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Although we can’t completely predict what lies ahead, we can still uphold the commitment of helping protect one another from dangerous roads. Throughout April, we’re observing Distracted Driving Awareness Month to continue the conversation about transportation safety and preventing unexpected catastrophes. The more we can educate ourselves of the risks that lurk, the more we can lessen the instances of distracted driving.

The Impact of Distracted Driving

According to the NHTSA, “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.” The administration further emphasizes there being three specific types of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive.

Visual distractions entail disturbances that cause a driver to look away at any given time to obtain information. Manual distractions force a driver to remove a hand off of the steering wheel to operate a device. Cognitive distractions are those experienced at a mental level in which a driver is thinking about something else rather than driving. To help put things into perspective, here are some statistics to take into account:

  • Texting can take your eyes off the road for five seconds. The NHTSA explains, “At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”
  • 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes that involved distracted drivers in 2019.
  • Current texting laws in 48 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands have banned text messaging for all drivers.
  • 36 states and the District of Columbia have championed phone-use bans that primarily focus on young drivers.
  • New York was the first state to officially ban hand-held phone conversations while driving.
  • Drivers 21 years old or younger are specifically prohibited from texting while driving in the state of Missouri.
  • Texting and phone bans have helped influence a six percent reduction in fatal crash metrics

Get Involved

Rules and regulations can have positive outcomes in effectively shielding the general public from harm on roads. Due diligence – at both a federal and individual level – plays an important role regarding distracted driving awareness. That’s why the NHSTA encourages everyone to speak up and lead by example everyday. They attest that teens can be powerful advocates via social media, parents and guardians can maintain commitments to safety in their households, and educators and employers can promote awareness through safety adherence and company policies.

At ALC Schools, we also believe road safety is paramount. Everyday, we safely transport thousands of children to and from school; providing them an equal opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed. Take the pledge to end the risk of distracted driving by dedicating yourself to drive phone-free, keep up with local laws, and remember to voice your opinion. Together, we can eliminate risky driving behaviors one step at a time.

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