Most people pride themselves on their ability to multitask. Behind the wheel, however, it’s less of a skill and more of a potentially deadly habit. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the National Safety Council is using its “Just Drive” campaign to remind motorists to stay safe — and focused — behind the wheel.
The NSC’s campaign aims to help drivers recognize the risks of distracted driving and eliminate preventable deaths. It reports that motor vehicle deaths claimed the lives of approximately 40,100 people in 2017, the second consecutive year that driving fatalities topped 40,000. On top of that, the agency determined that about 4.57 million people were injured seriously enough to require medical attention in car crashes in 2017, and costs to society totaled an estimated $413.8 billion.
Many of those deaths and injuries are attributable to distracted driving — according to the the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 3,500 fatalities a year. Cell phones rank as the No. 1 distraction; closely following are multimedia systems, and hands-free setups are particularly misleading in their ability to distract. NSC found that 53 percent of drivers believe that if manufacturers put these voice-activated systems in vehicles, they must be safe. In reality, these technologies have been shown to distract our brains even after you’ve used them.
In NHTSA’s research, teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes, but the onus is on the parents.
“Parents first have to lead by example — by never driving distracted — as well as have a talk with their young driver about distraction and all of the responsibilities that come with driving,” NHSTA said in a statement.
Both NHTSA and the NSC are urging motorists to pay attention to save lives. Take the distracted-driving safety pledge here.
For more on the dangers of distracted driving and how to avoid them, watch the video in the link above and follow the links below:
- Study: Phones Aren’t the Only Things Distracting Drivers
- Apple Takes on Distracted Driving With New Feature
- This Is Your Brain on Apps: The Distracted Driving Dilemma
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