April marks national Distracted Driving Awareness Month as an effort to reduce carelessness behind the wheel across the country.
Driving distractedly killed 3,328 people in 2012, and it can be frighteningly easy to do. Driving when fatigued, not focusing on the road, and eating are all behaviors that we see being performed by other drivers as we travel each day.
One distracted behavior, though, stands out among the rest as exceptionally dangerous, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations (NHTSA) new distracted driving campaign takes aim at raising awareness of its risks: texting while driving.
Police agencies nationwide are working to reduce the frequency of texting and driving accidents in concert with the NHTSA U Drive, U Text, U Pay, awareness campaign. The program will be advertised nationally in hopes of reducing the number of distracted driving accidents that cause serious injuries and deaths each day.
Transportation authority officials aren’t the only ones taking the texting and driving dangers seriously. AT&T Michigan surveyed teens during its It Can Wait campaign and found some surprising information:
- 75% of teens say texting and driving is common among their friends although 97% admit that it is a dangerous activity
- 76% of consumers believe that texting and driving is a major problem in the U.S. today
- Although adults tell teen drivers not to text while driving, 77% of teens feel that adults do it all the time
- AT&Ts It Can Wait program has garnered 4 million pledges and counting
Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile have also joined It Can Wait and AT&T has furthered its efforts by releasing DriveMode, an app which auto-replies to incoming text messages when the vehicle is moving at a speed of 25 mph or higher.
After an accident drivers who were struck by a text-distracted driver should seek medical help if necessary, report to the police, and consider contacting a car accident lawyer in Washington DC for advice on whether they should file a claim of negligence.
Remember to drive safely every month of the year and to be on the lookout for distracted driving through the month of April. No one wants to be pulled over, but the increased efforts of law enforcement during Distracted Driving Awareness Month could save lives.