Friday, March 31, 2023

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month to draw attention to the issue in hopes of preventing dangerous behavior and saving lives.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2020 – that’s an average almost nine per day. Law enforcement will be conducting extra patrols this month as part of a distracted driving enforcement and awareness campaign, U Drive. U Text. U Pay. The campaign reminds drivers of the deadly dangers and the legal consequences – including fines – of texting behind the wheel.

What exactly is distracted driving? Texting or talking on cell phone is probably the first thing that comes to mind. For instance, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that translates to driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Forty-eight states, including New Jersey, have laws n the books that make it illegal to text while driving. Still, driver inattention was cited as a contributing factor in 194 of the 712 fatal crashes — about 27 percent — in New Jersey in 2021, according to the latest available data from the New Jersey State Police.

But distracted driving is any activity that diverts a driver's attention from their number one duty -- driving. That could be talking or texting but it can also be as old-fashioned as fiddling with your radio or as modern as directing your navigation or entertainment system. It can also be as seemingly innocuous as eating and drinking or just talking to your friends in the car. Simply put, distracted driving is anything that takes your attention from the task of safe driving, keeping your eyes on the road. As a motorist, you're in charge of a multi-ton vehicle and that requires your full attention.