No April Fools Gag…It’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month!
By: Good2GoPublished: April 1, 2014
Distracted driving can take many forms. It can involve talking to other passengers, adjusting your GPS, applying makeup, or drinking your morning coffee. However, distracted driving is most synonymous with cell phone use. And no matter what form of distracted driving you engage in, you’re putting your life and the lives of others at risk. Through the efforts of the National Safety Council (NSC) and FocusDriven, April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This month is dedicated to educating the public about the dangers of cell phone use when behind the wheel including talking on the phone and sending text messages, as well as hands-free cell phone use.
History of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
On November 25, 2008, nine year old Erica was riding her bike home from school when she was struck by a woman who was texting and driving. This caused Erica to suffer a serious head injury and to be airlifted to a local hospital. Two days later, on Thanksgiving Day, Erica passed away. Erica’s mother, Shelley Forney, made it her mission to make sure that other families don’t have to suffer this kind of loss. That’s when she spearheaded the initiative, FocusDriven. As a Founding Board Member, Forney’s goal was to urge drivers to consider the lives of others on the road and put an end to distracted driving.
Forney’s efforts did not go unnoticed. In 2010, former Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO) proposed that the month of April be known as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This resolution addressed the dangers of distracted driving and ways that it can help prevent injuries and save lives. On March 23, 2010, the resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in a landslide vote of 410-2.
Early Distracted Driving Statistics
At the time the resolution was passed, there were more than 276 million wireless cell phone subscribers in the United States who sent over 600 billion text messages. According to the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey, 80% of all traffic incidents and 65% of all near-crashes involved some type of distraction. Driver distraction was reported to have been involved in 16% of all fatal crashes according to data from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). While these statistics date back to 2008 and 2009, the message is still clear that drivers who use their cell phones when their vehicle is in motion pose a serious threat to children and adults alike.
In 2013, cell phone ownership reached 91%, according to Pew Research which means billions of text messages were sent across the U.S. In 2011 alone, there were over 2 trillion text messages sent nationwide, according to Forrester Research. That amounts to roughly 6 billion texts per day. This increase in mobile device adoption and text messages correlates with the increase in distracted driving accidents. According to the Transportation Department, there were an estimated 3,328 people killed in distraction-related crashes in 2012, compared with 3,360 in 2011. And an estimated 421,000 people were injured in distraction-affected crashes in 2012, up 9% from 2011.
Spreading the Word about Distracted Driving Awareness Month
In our last blog post, we discussed how automakers and the government need to be more aggressive in their efforts to prevent texting while driving. David Teater, Senior Director of Transportation Initiatives at the NSC, stresses the seriousness of distracted driving and elaborates on the auto industry’s stance on this issue in this video clip:
“Traffic crashes are the #1 cause of accidental death in our country. And it’s the #1 cause of all death for people between the age of 1 and 35. That includes disease, anything. So, it’s very serious. People are dying every day. We need to get the auto manufacturers a little more engaged in this issue of cognitive distraction.”
You can view the full video on YouTube:
To help spread the word about Distracted Driving Awareness Month, there are many resources at your disposal that you can use to reduce the number of injuries and deaths related to distracted driving.
1. Pledges to take:
2. Get the facts
Law enforcement will also be stepping in during DDAM with the National Distracted Driving Enforcement Campaign. This year, there will be increased law enforcement presence across the nation to not only deter drivers from using their mobile devices when behind the wheel, but to also save lives.
Take a stand against distracted driving and show your support on social media by using the hashtag #DDAM. You can also show your support by using a text blocking device in your vehicle. Text blocking devices are pieces of equipment that prevent the use of distracting cell phone functions while a vehicle is in motion. They mainly block text messages, email, and Internet browsing, but may also include other distracting mobile applications and outgoing phone calls.
To make the roads safer for everyone during Distracted Driving Awareness Month, take advantage of our Cell Phone Safety Discount. Drivers can save 5% off their car insurance premium for installing a text blocking device in their vehicle to eliminate distracted driving for good.
Be sure to protect yourself affordably with Good2Go.com auto insurance. Get a cheap car insurance quote today.