April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
It’s an age-old problem rapidly increasing in risk with the creation of personal digital technology. Technology just gets more fantastic by the moment it seems, and more distracting, too. I know it doesn’t surprise any of us that the affects are deadly on our roads.
Seems like a stupid question, but what is distracted driving?
Taking a hand or hands off of the wheel often means your eyes are moving off of the road at the same time even if for just a second. So much of it is done subconsciously: we daydream, reach for our coffee, eat our lunch on the fly, change the radio station and manage our children. We kind of convince ourselves that driving is the main thing and the other things going on are habitual, reactive, and necessary and we can handle it all. Right? Maybe.
Then enter in the smart phone because all of those things already going on aren’t enough. Top them all off with our conscious choices: answering the phone, making a call, reading and responding to a text or punching in navigation details. It’s curiosity, impatience, oh and that personal lie that we are indeed super-mad multi-tasking masters – yeah you know what I’m saying.
Doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re at on the scale of distracted driving. We’re all guilty at some degree and we’re all at risk.
See for yourself:
- In 2016 more than 40,000 people were killed across the nation in motor vehicle accidents. (NSC.org) 3,450 of those fatalities in 2016 were a direct result of distracted driving. (NHTSA.gov)
- Approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones during the daylight hours while driving. The largest distracted group reported at the time of fatal crashes? Teens. (NHTSA.gov)
- A whopping 70% of drivers confess to using cell phones despite full knowledge of the risk at hand. (NHTSA.gov)
What can we do?
The National Safety Council created some great tools to raise awareness:
- Sign up for a Free Distracted Diving Course.
- Pledge to your family, friends and coworkers to drive Cell Free.
- Suggest this Safe Driving Kit to your employer.
Make yourself aware. Share awareness. Commit to drive distraction free.