The month of April is national Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Operating a motor vehicle while distracted is not only dangerous to yourself, but can be unsafe for everyone around you on the roadway. Although it may seem harmless, taking your eyes of the roadway to look at your cell phone has the potential to cause grave danger to you and others. That is why it is important to bring attention to a cause that results in many severe injuries, and sometimes, even death.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), approximately 3,142 people were killed in 2019 as a result of distracted driving, which was an increase of 10 percent from 2018. Driving while distracted can occur in many types of forms, but the one that may immediately come to your mind is the use of cell phones and other electronic devices. In fact, according to NHTSA’s 2017 research, NHTSA found that drivers between the ages 16 to 24 years old were seen using a handheld electronic device, such as a cell phone, more than older demographics. Some other distractions that lead to injuries are eating or drinking; loss of focus; observing people outside your vehicle; changing the radio; adjusting the temperature in your vehicle; reaching for an object that you have placed on a different seat or on the floor; and smoking. Obviously, there are numerous other scenarios that can cause you to lose focus on the roadway.
In order to curb the injuries and fatalities that may result from a collision involving distracted drivers, we all need to be keenly aware of the dangers and consequences of the same. Each one of us is responsible for the safety of others on the roadway. To make sure that we can reach our destinations in a prudent and safe manner, we should all drive defensively and be aware that other drivers may not do so. This will allow you to be alert at all times while you operate your motor vehicle, and make the necessary adjustments needed to avoid being involved in a collision.
As a final note, there are simple steps that we can all take to ensure that we are not distracted when operating a motor vehicle. For instance, if you are traveling with someone else in the vehicle, give your passenger your cell phone. This will prevent you from looking at your electronic device while driving. Additionally, this can enable the passenger to provide you with directions if you are unsure where you are going. Also, if it is absolutely necessary that you need to return a call, email or text message, pull over to a safe area and park your vehicle before responding. Doing so will enable the safest environment for all vehicles on the roadway.