April is a Distracted Driving Awareness Month Apr. 14, 2015

Did you know the leading cause of workplace deaths are car crashes, specifically when using cell-phones? There is no safe way to use a cell-phone and drive - even with a hands-free device. Protect the ones you love - including yourself - and pledge to stop using your phone behind the wheel. Calls kill. No one should ever die from such a completely preventable cause as trivial distracted driving.

In 2013 at least 3,154 people in the United States were killed and 424,000 were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers. In fact, 16 percent of all motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States in 2013 were reported as distraction-affected crashes, which are defined as any crash in which a driver was identified as distracted at the time of the crash.


What Is Distracted Driving?

According to U.S. DOT, distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger and pedestrian safety. Distractions can include:

  • sending text messages;
  • using a cell-phone or smartphone;
  • eating and drinking;
  • talking to passengers;
  • grooming;
  • reading, including maps;
  • using a navigation system;
  • watching a video;
  • adjusting a radio, CD player or MP3 player.

However, because sending text messages requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction.

80% of American drivers believe hands-free devices are safer than using a handheld phone. More than 30 studies show hands-free devices are no safer because the brain remains distracted by the conversation. Drivers can miss seeing up to half of what's around them, like traffic lights, stop signs, and pedestrians.

Throughout April, NSC (National Safety Council) will urge Americans to consider the lives of others on the road and stop using cell-phones while driving. NSC estimates 28 percent of all crashes - or 1.6 million crashes - each year are caused by drivers using their handheld or hands-free cell-phones and texting while driving. This is much greater than the number of crashes caused by any other distraction.

NSC encourage drivers to commit to not using their cell-phones while driving during the month of April and beyond. They suggest drivers silence, turn off or put their phones away in trunks or glove compartments, reducing the temptation to answer a ringing phone, text message or e-mail. Drivers also are asked to change their voicemail greeting to alert callers they may be driving.

Everybody can contribute by following these simple rules and help prevent distracted driving by promoting these signs, labels, and bumper stickers to companies, schools, hospitals, and local state highway divisions to cut back on cell-phone use while driving.

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