The weather’s getting warmer, the days are getting longer and you’re ready to get outside, take a drive, and enjoy some springtime fun! This is a very exciting time of year, but before you get behind the wheel, make sure you eliminate all distractions.
What is distracted driving?
According to the Department of Transportation, distracted driving is “any activity that diverts a person's attention away from the primary task of driving.” Whether it’s texting, talking on the phone, talking to a passenger, dancing to your music, eating, fixing your hair, etc - anything that causes you to switch gears and take your focus off the road - can be considered a distraction.
Know the Facts
Distracted driving contributes to about 16% of motor vehicle fatalities nationally and in New Jersey
10% of all drivers age 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as being distracted
Drivers in their 20’s represent about 23% of all drivers in fatal crashes
You're 20 times more likely to get into an accident when you text and drive than a non-distracted driver
Spending 5 seconds texting while driving at a speed of 55mph is enough to travel the length of football field blindfolded
National Distracted Driving Awareness
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. During this month, law enforcement agencies will focus on educating the public on motor vehicle safety in addition to cracking down harder on distracted drivers. In New Jersey, handheld devices are banned from use while driving. If you’re caught using these devices, you are subject to a fine of up to $400. This campaign is designed to encourage drivers to think before they get behind the wheel and to make driver and passenger safety a top priority.
Change the Stats
Now that you know the statistics, here’s what you can do:
Put down the phone: There’s no call or text message worth more than your life, or the life of passengers and other drivers on the road.
Spread the word: Educate your friends and family on the severity of distracted driving
Be the change: Let's end distracted driving. Take the pledge! It may save a life.
To learn more about distracted driving and what you can do to help, visit http://www.distraction.gov/index.html