The Destruction of Distraction: Education and Awareness to Prevent Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a hot button issue that has garnered a significant amount
attention in recent years, and is currently at the forefront of the news
because April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.  This national
campaign has been ushered in by the Department of Transportation to help
develop awareness and increase public safety to combat the deadly statistics of
this dangerous practice.  According to the US Department of
Transportation, 5,474 people were killed in U.S. roadways and an estimated
additional 448,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes that were reported to
have involved distracted driving during 2009.

 

 

Much of the legislation that has been established in the
quest for a zero-tolerance stance on distracted driving is focused on banning
the use of cell phones and texting while driving.  The Governor’s Highway
Safety Association reports that 30 states have implemented a ban on texting
while driving, and 8 states have banned the use of handheld phones
completely.  In spite of increased legislation and strong police
enforcement banning cell phone use and texting while driving in many states,
the practice persists, and the results are deadly.

In addition to the highly publicized dangers of mobile phone
use while driving, it is important to remember that there are many commonplace
actions that constitute distracted driving that you need to approach with
caution and avoid whenever possible. These can include, eating, talking to your
passengers, personal grooming, watching a video or consulting your GPS.

The DOT campaign against distracted driving is attempting to
reach out to people on a more personal level with their initiative, “Faces of
Distracted Driving”.  This campaign, which can be viewed on their website,
distraction.gov, tells the
stories of real people whose lives have been negatively impacted (injuries
suffered, loved ones lost) as a consequence of some form of distracted
driving.  Many local governments and school districts are partnering with
this program during the month of April, and beyond, to help spread the message
and eliminate the prevalence of distracted driving on our roadways.

 

~Rhiana Quick

Sources:

US Department of Transportation: Statistics and Facts
about Distracted Driving
http://www.distraction.gov/stats-and-facts/#what

Governor’s Highway Safety Association: Cell Phone and
Texting Laws
http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html

 

 

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One Comment

  1. Posted April 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great post Rhiana! Some other forms of distraction include dressing & undressing (if you can believe it) as well as travelling with dogs on the drivers’ lap or as I’ve seen, pets loose on the dashboard. February was Distracted Driving Awareness Month in BC, Canada and the RCMPs blitz netted more than 3,000 charges in the Lower Mainland alone. We definitely need to keep informing the driving public of the dangers of distracted driving & that the life they save may be their own.

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  1. […] Distractions: Setting a limit for passengers will help eliminate distractions during homecoming travel, but you need to set further guidelines for your teen driver to help […]

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