Distracting driving continues to be a massive problem nationwide, causing thousands of injuries and fatalities in related accidents each year. With this troublesome trend in mind, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has christened April as “National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.”
Distracted driving is more than just cell phone use. Any action that takes a person’s attention off of the road and his or her surroundings is considered distracted driving, according to the NHTSA. Many people drive distracted and do not even realize they are doing it because it doesn’t involve texting.
There are three types of distracted driving: visual, manual and cognitive.
In visual distracted driving, the driver takes his or her eyes off the road. This could entail glancing down at a radio or looking out of a side window instead of the windshield; it’s anything that takes the eyes away from the road ahead and the immediate surroundings. Manual distracted driving occurs when a person is taking her or his hands off of the wheel to do something else, such as change a radio station or eat food. In cognitive distracted driving, the driver’s mind is focused on something other than driving. Some actions can include more than one type of distracted driving at one time. Texting, for example, takes a person’s mind, eyes and hands away from driving. Eating or checking a GPS could also involve all three categories of driving while distracted.
The statistics paint a grim picture
Distracted driving is a problem that has gotten worse over the years, as technology has made its way firmly into society and more people have cell phones and other distracting devices. NHTSA reports that in 2015 alone, 391,000 people were injured and 3,477 people died because of crashes that involved distracted drivers. Studies estimate that around 660,000 drivers use their cell phones while on the road during the day, creating a deadly potential for more accidents, injuries and deaths related to this unsafe behavior.
NHTSA is leading the charge
The Administration is working to turn the dangerous trend of distracted driving around by increasing awareness of and education about the topic. Leading the way in its efforts is devoting an entire month to the problem. NHTSA partners with local and state law enforcement departments to run campaigns that reach drivers and get them to understand the risks and costs of distracted driving. Throughout April, the Administration combines its national ad campaign with a crackdown by local law enforcement across the country. This initiative is known as “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” It runs for around a week each April and aggressively targets cell phone use while driving. During this period, law enforcement officials aim to catch and ticket distracted drivers who are using their phones.
Despite having an entire awareness month of its own, distracted driving continues to contribute to crashes all around the US. If you have been injured because of a distracted driver, seek the advice of an experienced auto accident lawyer Denver CO relies on today to protect your rights.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into distracted driving awareness month.