The National Safety Council has deemed the month of April to be Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and many states are following suit with increasing distracted driving enforcement on the roadways. The mission of creating a distracted driving awareness month is simply to help people understand that distracted driving is a preventable epidemic.
Types of distraction
- Visual: Taking your eyes off the road
- Manual: Taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: Taking your mind off the wheel
Cited by cdc.gov
Distracted driving comes in numerous forms including attending to children, changing the radio station or using navigation and more frequently, texting, tweeting, emailing, and posting.
At 55 mph, the average text takes your eyes off the road long enough to cover a football field.
The National Safety Council in conjunction with the National Center for Health Statistics recently released their 2016 motor vehicle fatalities and injuries including those related to speed, alcohol and marijuana impairment and those related to cell phone distraction.
- 40,000 deaths
- 4.6 million injuries serious enough to require medical attention
- $432 billion dollars estimated cost to society
Cited by nsc.org
According to a CDC distracted driving research study in 2011:
- 69% of drivers age 18-64 reported talking on their cell phone while driving.
- 31% of drivers age 18-64 reported sending and email or text message while driving.
- Drivers under the age of 20 have the highest amount of distraction-related crashes.
- Students who text while driving are more likely to ride with a drinking driver or be the drinking driver.
Cited by cdc.gov/distracted driving
- Kansas has a ban on all cell phone use (hands-free and handheld) for drivers 21 years and younger and a ban on texting for drivers of any age.
- Missouri has a ban on texting for drivers 21 years and younger.
- The National Safety Council is calling for Graduated Driver Licensing or Three Tiered Licensing to be applicable to all drivers under the age of 21.
- Stop driving distracted. Be heard. Educate others. Commit to being a safe driver.
Distracted driving awareness month should be every month. If you are reading this as a teen driver, now is the time to take a stand against all forms of distracted driving and in this instance, it is ok to put pressure on your peers. If you are reading this as a parent, practice what you teach; put your phone away and put both of your hands on the steering wheel. Be the example.