April is officially National Distracted Driving Awareness month.

Driver texting behind the wheel
April is officially National Distracted Driving Awareness month.

Although many people think that the only type of distracted driving involves driving while using a phone there are many ways a person can be distracted while driving. Texting, talking on the phone, eating, changing the radio station are all examples of distracted driving.

Texting and driving is the most popular and most dangerous form of distracted driving. According to The Zebra (https://www.thezebra.com/texting-and-driving-statistics/) there were over 4,600 car crash deaths in 2018 due to cell phone use.

Not only is distracted driving dangerous, it is illegal in 47 states. If caught, the driver will likely receive a ticket which will also increase the driver's insurance rate. On average, a driver's insurance rate will increase by $226 a year when ticketed for distracted driving. In some cities, the penalty is even more severe due to distracted driving laws.

Many drivers have been found to be engaged in one or more distracting activities while on the road:

  • Talking on hand-held cellphone

  • Manipulating hand-held cellphone (excludes looking at phone in mount)

  • Simply holding hand-held cellphone (i.e., not obviously manipulating or talking)

  • Wearing Bluetooth earpiece or headset with mic

  • Wearing headphones or ear buds

  • Manipulating in-vehicle system (touching radio, climate control, touchscreen display or other controls; excludes operating stalks or buttons on steering wheel)

  • Manipulating or holding mobile electronic device other than cellphone

  • Talking or singing

  • Eating or drinking

  • Smoking

  • Grooming

  • Other (reaching for object, reading print material, adjusting sun visor, putting on glasses, holding another object)

So, put away your phone, food, and ear buds and focus driving to make the roads as safe as possible. This will not only help protect yourself from distracted drivers but will also keep you from becoming one yourself!