April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month!

Tomorrow may be April Fool's Day, but more than preparing for your pranks, it’s the best time to take part in this year’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Distracted driving has become a serious safety problem. In 2012 alone, distraction-related crashes resulted in 3,338 deaths and 421,000 injuries. What's even worse is these results are underreported.

Related: Cell Phone Use In Fatal Car Crashes Underreported

Statistics
This April, we can do our part in promoting safe driving. Let’s stop using cell phones while driving and tell our loved ones about the risks and dangers of distracted driving. Here are some statistics to share with you kids:

  • About 1.3 million accidents are blamed on drivers using cell phones
  • Around 21% of distracted drivers aged 15-19 were distracted by cell phones
  • Sending or receiving a text message takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds
  • About 10% of parents admit that they have sent a text message while driving

What has been done?
Kentucky’s anti-texting law was signed in 2010. Any person who violates the texting while driving ban will pay a fine of $25 on a first offense and $50 on each offense after that. If a violator gets convicted of texting while driving, they will lose three points on their license and a total of 12 points in a two-year period would mean losing your driver’s license.

What’s being done?
In Kentucky, law enforcement agencies are improving their efforts to convince drivers to put down their phones as part of the first national texting enforcement crackdown - U Drive. U Text. U Pay. Kentucky Transportation Secretary, Mike Hancock, said that people need to know that the government is serious in stopping this deadly behavior [pertaining to distracted driving].

Related: Kentucky Again Participates In U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

What will be done?
There are many ways to get involved in this year’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The simplest, yet the most effective, way to prevent a distracted-related crash is to refrain from sending or reading text messages while driving. If it’s an emergency, try to find a safe place to pull over and take the call or read the text message.

As April starts, let's join the fight against distracted driving. In three simple ways, you can get involved and be part of the nationwide effort to end distracted driving. These include:

  1. Take the pledge to drive without your cell phone. Make that decision to not use your phone while driving.
  2. Download essential reports and media tools. Understand and learn more about distracted driving by downloading reports, white papers and posters provided by the National Safety Council (NSC).
  3. Watch and share distracted driving videos. Some videos and commercials can be hard to watch, but it shows us what can happen if we don't pay attention to the road.

We can help end distracted driving. Let's all pledge to not use our cell phones while we drive. This will help make the roads a safer place for everyone.

Michael Schafer
The Personal Injury Attorney for Louisville and Kentucky
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