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Distracted Driving Kills—The Fight to End it Starts with You

I admit it—I’ve done it. I’ve read and responded to a text while driving my car. I couldn’t resist. I heard the text come in, and without thinking reached for my phone and proceeded to read and answer a text. After which I set my phone down—actually put it on vibrate and shoved it deep in my purse—rolled my eyes at myself for the complete foolishness of the action and vowed to never do it again.

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. We should be aware of this epidemic that is sweeping through our nation throughout the entire year, but let’s use this month to really drill it in to those who still just don’t seem to get it.

Every day I hear stories about people who have died, been seriously injured, or have had near misses all due to distractions in the car. Not just texting or cell phone use either: kids, changing music, food, hot coffee, cigarettes, etc. We all know there is no way to completely eliminate distractions in any environment. But there are ways that we can reduce the amount of distractions in order to provide the safest environment possible while operating a vehicle.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in the U.S. in 2010. In fact, you’re 23 times more likely to crash in you text while driving ( www.distraction.gov ). What’s worse is that 40% of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger ( see 2009 PEW report ). Because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it poses the greatest distracted driving threat on our nation’s roads.

That said, don’t you think that maybe it’s time to say enough is enough? The next time you get behind the wheel, turn your phone off. Tell your friends, family, colleagues, that you are not always going to be able to respond to their calls and texts right away. If you’re a passenger and you see the driver reach for a phone, don’t let it go unnoticed. The stories and statistics speak for themselves…don’t allow yourself or your loved ones to be a part of any of it.

So—the next time you or someone you love gets behind the wheel, what steps will you take to ensure you get to your destination safe and sound?

By Amanda Mesones, Electronic Communications Specialist, AAMVA

There are many online distracted driving resources you can take a look at. Here are just a few:

   

 


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