April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,522 people lost their lives to distracted driving in 2021. Here in Connecticut in 2022 there were 5,300 distracted driving crashes resulting in eight fatalities and sixty-four serious injuries. Although distracted driving can include activities such as adjusting the radio or GPS; eating or drinking, the most prevalent activity is cell phone use, whether it’s talking, texting or using social media. Forty-eight states, including Connecticut, have laws prohibiting hand-held cell phone use yet it continues.
Since 2010, April has been National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Connecticut has been measuring rates of distracted driving since 2015 and August 2021 saw the highest rate of drivers either texting or talking on a hand-held cell phone since the first round of observations in March 2015. Through social media messaging, commercials showing the dangers of distracted driving, and campaigns such as “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.”, CT DOT is making a concerted effort to reduce distracted driving crashes in the state.
In the words of CT DOT Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto, “We are counting on every single driver on our roadways to be a part of the solution by paying attention to avoid putting everyone on the road in danger.” We all have a responsibility every time we get in a vehicle to keep ourselves and others safe. Whether you are the driver or a passenger you can take steps to eliminate distractions and drive safely.
SAFETY TIPS TO NOT DRIVE DISTRACTED
- When driving, put your phone away. If you have difficulty ignoring your phone set it to “Do Not Disturb” or silence it and put it in the backset or trunk.
- If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over to a safe location, stop driving and then use your phone.
- Give control of your phone to a passenger to answer calls and texts.
- Never engage in social media activity of any kind while driving.
The CT DOT Highway Safety Office has developed a public service announcement that you can all share in your communities! Let’s all work on this together.
For more information and assistance with local road safety in your community, contact Melissa Evans, Safety Circuit Rider, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CT DOT, Distracted Driving Continues to Be One of the Leading Causes of Vehicle Crashes