National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
By: Good2GoPublished: April 11, 2016
As more and more studies are done and the statistics pile up regarding the devastating effects of distracted driving there is an ever greater urgency to get the word out. Young and old need to get involved help get the word out to family, friends, employees, and others, about the seriousness of this issue.
What is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that will take your mind away from your primary task of driving. Any type of distraction will put you, your passengers and any other cars or bystanders outside of your moving vehicle in danger of being harmed or even killed.
- Using any type of hand held or hands free devices, especially cell or smart phones.
- Talking to passengers
- Eating or Drinking
- Grooming habits
- Adjusting your music system.
- Map reading
- And the list goes on from here
Why do we dedicate a whole month to this important cause?
If you ask Shelley Forney, founding board member of FocusDriven, she will tell you or anyone who will listen why she has dedicated her life to this cause. You see on November 25, 2008, her nine year old daughter, Erica, was riding her bike home from school when she was hit by a woman who was driving and texting. Due to a serious head injury that she suffered, two days later, on Thanksgiving Day, Erica passed away.
Through her effort and organizations like the National Safety Council (NSC), in 2010, former Representative Betsy Markey (D-CO) proposed that April should be known as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Its purpose is to shine light on the very real tragedies incurred by distracted drivers while actively promoting ways to help prevent injuries and save lives. The hope is that no one will have to experience the pain of loss that Shelley Forney has had to endure. The US House of Representatives agreed this is serious issue and needs the focus of the entire country to work toward this goal, passing the resolution with a vote of 410-2.
What has changed since?
In the five years since April was named National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, cell phone ownership has skyrocketed and the dangerous practices associated with their usage have become even more pervasive. The number of cell phones in the U.S. now exceeds 327 million. That’s 10 million more than our actual population. In 2012, the National Safety Council (NSC) attributed approximately 21% of fatal, injury and property-only crashes to cell phone use, which equates to 1.2 million accidents. In another study, NSC discovered that a driver is four times more likely to crash if they’re using a cell phone while driving.
The most disturbing aspect of these statistics is that they are just best case scenarios. The under-reporting of cell phone crash data has become a constant struggle for law enforcement and safety organizations. Drivers are typically reluctant to admit that cell phone usage was the cause of an accident, especially if someone was injured in the crash. It’s also difficult to obtain cell phone data from wireless companies. Even if the data is retrieved it becomes a struggle to match up the exact moment of the accident. Combine this with the varied methods local, state, and federal agencies use to track and input their crash data; you can see how distracted driving stats become skewed.
Even with these inaccuracies, one thing is clear, distracted driving is still a problem. FocusDriven, NSC, and other safety organizations hope to rid our roads of distracted driving, but it requires full participation from all parties. From law enforcement agencies to wireless companies, we must all join together in the cause. We need to continue our efforts at all levels so we can reduce or eliminate the issue and save precious lives.
How can you help?
It all starts with you. The best way to help the cause is by taking the pledge to drive cell free. It may be difficult at first, but the easiest way to spread awareness is by example. It also helps to stay current with driving best practices and the laws of the road. You can then share this knowledge with friends and family, whether through social media or word-of-mouth. Set the standard for driving safety!
Good2Go is dedicated to driver safety and the elimination of dangerous driving practices. We offer discounts to drivers that join us in our mission to making roads safer. Good2Go rewards drivers that install a text blocking device in their cars with an instant 5% Cell Phone Safety discount. By driving safer you can save even more money on your auto insurance! Drive safe and legal for less with Good2Go. Get your free quote today!