April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April has been declared as National Safety Council’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month. To bring awareness this year the Department of Transportation has partnered a national advertising and media outreach campaign designed to inform the public with law enforcement crackdown.

“U Drive. U Text. U Pay” for Distracted Driving

Anthony Foxx, the Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the campaign, U Drive. U Text. U Pay, puts distracted driving at the same level of other government efforts such as the fight against drunk driving and the encouragement of using seat belts. He added, “Across the country, we’re putting distracted drivers on notice: If you’re caught texting while driving, the message you receive won’t be from your cell phone, but from law enforcement.”

Texting and Driving is an National Epidemic

It’s been reported that at any given moment in the U.S. more than 600,000 drivers behind the wheel of a car are using a handheld cell phone. And the majority of them are texting. The Department of Transportation deems texting as the most dangerous because it involves manual, visual, and cognitive distraction simultaneously. On average, sending or reading a text message takes the driver’s eyes off the road for a full 5 seconds. What that equates to for a driver traveling at 55 miles per hour is driving the entire length of a football field - blind. In 2012 more than 3,300 people were killed and an estimated 421,000 were injured in distraction-related crashes.

The Law

Texting specifically, is banned for drivers of all ages in 43 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. And in 12 states, D.C., and the territories, drivers of all ages are prohibited from using handheld cell phones while behind the wheel of a moving car. 37 states and D.C. ban cell phone use by novice drivers.

While in most states distracted driving bans are primary laws, so you can get pulled over just for using your cellphone. In other states it is a secondary law, meaning an officer can only issue a ticket for cellphone use if the driver has been pulled over for another violation, such as speeding.

If you’re involved in a distracted driving accident, you need the expert advice of distracted driving accident attorneys such as those at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC.

Source: Safety.BLR.com, April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Are your workers hanging up to drive?, April 10, 2014

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