April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents today.  Distracted driving comes in many forms including talking on the cell phone while driving, texting while driving, and eating.  It is any form of driving in which a driver’s hands, eyes, or mental attention are distracted from their duties in driving a motor vehicle.

Using a mobile device is the most common form of distracted driving, given the increased popularity of cell phone usage.  The majority of adults have cell phones, and many children get cell phones at early ages once they are old enough to talk on them. Cell phones distract drivers by taking their hand or hands off the wheel, taking their eyes off the road when reading texts, emails, or social networking messages, and by taking the driver’s attention off the road by placing the attention on the mobile device.

Distracted driving awareness month is a nationwide campaign led by the Department of Transportation to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities caused by distracted driving.  The goal is to keep drivers more alert and focused on the road.  The best way to ensure this happens is to make an effort to eliminate distractions to drivers on the road.

Lawmakers expect to see distracted driving awareness month have a positive impact on accident statistics.  In California, a state that has banned both talking on handset devices while driving and texting while driving, road fatalities have dropped by 22 percent.

In April, law enforcement is cracking down on distracted driving.  They are looking more closely for drivers on mobile devices and freely issuing citations.

California’s Office of Traffic Safety has an interesting campaign to catch driver’s attention.  The campaign states, “Don’t be a zombie behind the wheel.” In regards to the campaign, CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said, “Every distraction affects a driver’s reaction time, and things can change without notice. Distractions change a seemingly good driver into a zombie.

This campaign is now relevant to the state of Pennsylvania.  In March, Pennsylvania enacted a ban against texting, typing, instant messaging, and emailing while driving.