Your Attention Please: April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Here’s how to help protect yourself and loved ones from the dangers of distracted driving.

A man drives a vehicle with a smiling woman in the passenger seat. iStock

Your phone dings and you take your eyes off the road to grab it from the console. You may not think much of it, but those seconds when your eyes are off the road could have deadly consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), five distracted seconds at the speed of 55 mph is the same as driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed. 

Pull quote saying, “Five distracted seconds at the speed of 55 mph is the same  as driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed.”

According to statistics from the NHTSA, nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured daily from distraction-related crashes in the United States. The NHTSA estimates that distracted driving killed 3,522 people in 2021, which is the most recent data available. These sobering statistics serve as a reminder that we can all do better at keeping our eyes on the road.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

From April 3 through 10, you may see increased law enforcement presence on roads across the country as part of the national media campaign U Drive. U Text. U Pay. to remind drivers of the consequences of texting behind the wheel.

There is no nationwide ban on texting or using a cellphone while driving, but many states have rules around distracted driving, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association, including 48 states banning texting while driving and 25 states banning the use of hand-held phones while driving.

Despite the state bans, distracted driving is still a prevalent problem. Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that even though 96% of drivers say that texting and emailing while driving are serious or very serious threats to their safety, 39% admit to having read a text or email while driving in the past month, and 29% admit to typing a text or email while driving.

Distracted driving due to hand-held cellphone use is most prevalent among drivers who are 16 to 24 years old, according to the NHTSA’s National Occupant Protection Use Survey. To help prevent distracted driving by new drivers, be clear that they should not use their devices while driving. Show young drivers the importance of driving without distractions by leading by example—never text while driving. 

A woman in the passenger seat checks a cell phone while the woman in the driver’s seat maintains eye contact on the road ahead. iStock

AAA's Top 5 Tips for Helping to Reduce Driving

  1. Plan your trip in advance and program GPS systems, set mirrors and climate controls, etc., before you begin driving.
  2. Familiarize yourself with features of your vehicle’s equipment before you hit the road.
  3. Use message-taking functions and return calls when you’re stopped at a safe location.
  4. Whenever possible, ask passengers to help you perform activities that may be distracting.
  5. Secure mobile devices and any objects that may move and distract you while driving.

Take action to prevent loved ones from distracted driving by reminding them to keep their eyes on the road. If your driver is texting or distracted, tell them to stop and focus on the road. Ask your friends and family to join you in pledging not to drive distracted. This month, share your pledge on social media to spread the word and help save lives by using the hashtag #JustDrive.

This information is being provided for general informational purposes only. The Auto Club Group does not assume any liability in connection with providing this information.

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