Distracted Driving Awareness Month is here! We’ve all been there. You’re driving and the phone rings or you receive an alert about a new text message. It is so easy, and tempting, to immediately respond even though we know this behavior is extremely dangerous. We’ve heard the stories of texting and driving tragedies, yet most of us still partake in the behavior from time-to-time, or in some cases, every day.
To bring awareness to the issue, April has been designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Focus Driven, a national organization that supports families of texting and driving victims while also setting out to bring a greater awareness of the issue, cites startling statistics on its website. For instance, according the National Safety Council, cell phone use is a factor in 1 in 4 crashes.
Distracted driving isn’t only about text messages. In actuality, the Department of Transportation has identified three types of distractions. The first is manual, which happens when you take your hands off of the wheel, the second is visual, when you take your eyes off of the road, and the third is cognitive, which is when you take your mind off of the task of driving. Focus Driven also points out that the use of hands-free devices does not curb crash numbers as it has been found that it is the conversation, not the device, that is responsible for the distraction.
In addition to texting and talking on a phone, distracted driving actions include:
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
Florida is one of few states that currently does not have any laws that restrict cell phone use while driving. Nevertheless, we encourage everyone on the road to put down their hand-held device while behind the wheel. Distraction.gov notes that cell phone use was reported in 18% of distraction-related fatalities in America. The facts are real and so is the risk. Please consider these numbers the next time you’re in the car and talk to your friends and family about this serious issue.