In 2010, 3,267 people died and 416,000 were injured in car crashes that involved a distracted driver, according to Distraction.gov. That same year, Congress designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness of the dangers of activities that distract a driver’s attention from the immediate task of driving.
Distracted activities include eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading, using a navigation system, watching a video, or adjusting the music player. However, the most common and dangerous distractions are texting and cell phone use. As reported by Distraction.gov:
- Drivers who use hand-held devices while driving are 4 times more likely to get into fatal crashes
Using a cell phone while driving reduces driving-associated brain activity by 37 percent
Texting while driving creates a crash risk 23 times worse than non-distracted driving
Despite these risks, of the 6,000+ drivers who participated in the National Highway Traffic Safety Association’s 2012 National Survey of Distracted Driving Attitudes and Behaviors, 77 percent reported answering incoming calls and 41 percent reported making calls on all, most, or some driving trips.
Organizations like FocusDriven and the National Safety Council continuously raise awareness of the dangers of texting and talking on the phone while driving. A non-profit run entirely by people who have lost loved ones to cell phone-related car accidents, FocusDriven also offers support to victims of distracted driving-related car accidents and their families.
In honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, power down or put away your cell phone while you’re driving and avoid other distractions, such as reading or grooming. Take the pledge to commit to distraction-free driving and urge your friends and family to do the same. Finally, find out how you can help raise awareness of distracted driving by visiting Distraction.gov, which offers tips for teens, parents, educators, employers, and community groups.