April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and from Virginia to California, the traffic safety community has a simple message for drivers: One Text or Call could Wreck it All.

Here are some startling distracted driving statistics:

  • In 2012, there have been an estimated 307,753 car accidents involving drivers using cell phones and texting (National Safety Council: Cell Phone Crash Estimate Model) .
  • In 2009, distracted driving claimed 5,474 lives and led to 448,000 injuries (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)).
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices while driving are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves or others. (NHTSA).
  • Younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes (NHTSA).

Here are some safe driving tips to prevent distracted driving:

  • Plan in advance – Eat, check your e-mail, make calls and texts, and know your route before you get in the car.
  • Stay focused – Limit interactions with your passengers, don’t talk on the cell phone (even hands free), don’t text and don’t take notes or surf the Internet.
  • Let a passenger control the radio or if you are alone, set your iPod to shuffle and don’t touch it.
  • Pull over – If you must do any of the tasks mentioned above, pull over in a safe, well-lit area to talk on the phone or text.
  • Make a commitment to yourself – Promise yourself that you will not text and drive and that you will avoid distracted driving.