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National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is National Highway Safety Administration’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This year’s sponsor is FocusDriven. FocusDriven is a place for victims and their families to come together to honor those who have been affected by this issue. They are the constant reminder to the world that no call or text message is worth someone’s life.

According to Distraction.gov, the number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. An estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, this was a nine percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011.

Safety advocates believe the best way to end distracted driving is to educate all Americans about the danger it poses. It takes only seconds to cause or be involved in a preventable auto accident. According to AAA, taking your eyes off of the road for two seconds doubles your risk of getting into a crash.

Some common distractions include:

* Texting * Talking on cell phone * Eating or drinking * Talking to passengers * Grooming * Adjusting the radio
Resources for teens, parents and businesses:

* Take the pledge to not drive distracted
* National Safety Council
* Distraction.Gov – Teens
* Disratction.Gov – Parents
* Distraction.Gov – Employers

In September 2013, Florida passed a law banning texting for all drivers. While a good first step, the law is a “secondary infraction,” meaning the police offer must first catch you in another traffic offense. And drivers are still allowed make phone calls while on the road.

While the government, car manufacturers, wireless industry and other companies are researching how to keep drivers safe (ex. phone locks, handsfree, lane departure warnings, etc.) and the first driverless cars are not expected until the end of the decade, the best defense is an attentive driver. Remember it is never safe to drive distracted.