April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
According to the most recent figures by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 431,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted driving and 3,179 people were killed in 2014 alone.
What is distracted driving? It is not only texting; it is reading, eating, talking to passengers or looking after children, adjusting music or car controls, operating a GPS, and other behaviors. Distracted driving is any behavior or activity that diverts a person from the primary task of driving. These distractions are often a combination of manual (e.g. hands off of wheel), visual (e.g. eyes off of road) and cognitive (e.g. lack of concentration on driving) behaviors.
Parents: Be aware of passenger restrictions for drivers under age 18 years of age. The Commonwealth of Virginia’s driving restrictions are aimed at helping drivers stay safe and to reduce the number of car crashes. Discuss safe driving habits with your family (learn more at VA DMV). Good habits start at home, make a good example for your family and loved ones, don’t let distracted driving be a norm.
Educators and Community Groups: Encourage distraction free driving habits among youth. Foster community awareness by starting your own distracted driving awareness campaign. Need help developing talking points? Visit Distraction.gov.
Employers: Take action. Talk to your employees about the use of cell phones and electronic devices while driving. Distraction.gov provides a sample template distracted driving policy that is customizable to your organization’s needs. Support distraction free driving for your employees both on and off work.
EVERYONE! Take the pledge at Drive Smart Virginia, sign the pledge online watch the list of people committed to safe driving habits grow!
Remember – texting while driving is illegal in Virginia and most other states! In Virginia it is a primary offense, which means you may be stopped if suspected of texting while driving. Additionally, Virginia has other restrictions on use of electronic devices for youth drivers. The Fairfax County Police Department aims to educate the community on the potential consequences of distracted driving behavior and actively enforces applicable state and county codes. Help keep our community roadways safe – it starts with YOU!