Put down the phone and pay attention; April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. According to a phone company survey, almost 100% of teens agree that texting and driving is dangerous, but half admitted to doing it anyway. It may take only a matter of seconds to glance at your phone, but, if you are driving at 60 miles an hour, your eyes were blind to the road while you drove the length of a football field. Please don’t text and drive.
History of Distracted Driving Awareness Month
To understand the history behind Distracted Driving Awareness Month, one can’t ignore the story of Shelley Forney. On November 25, 2008, Shelley’s life was completely changed when a driver made the mistake of looking at their cell phone whilst in control of an SUV. Shelley’s nine-year-old daughter Erica was riding her bike home, just 15 pedals away when she was struck by the SUV head-on. Erica passed away two days later on Thanksgiving Day.
At the time, distracted driving was hardly covered in any media, let alone described as a pandemic. And while the average person suffering the unthinkable might curl into a ball of pain, Shelley decided to do the opposite. She knew that the story of Erica was avoidable, and if she could tell her story to enough people, it would save another person from having to live through the grief her family had to. Shelley went on to become an independent contract safety speaker and founded a distracted driving advocacy group named Focus Driven. She would continue to speak to audiences for the next ten years, appearing on Oprah, Larry King Live, and many other shows and events. Erica’s story caught the attention of Representative Betsy Markey, and in early 2010, she was invited to Washington DC to speak at a safety conference.
Stories like Shelley’s are far too common and entirely avoidable in today’s society. In 2018 4,637 people died in car crashes due to cell phone and electronic device use. This month is our effort to shrink that number significantly, you could be saving a life. So please join us this month and make an extra effort to avoid using our phones while on the road and make our roads a safer place to be.
Distracted Driving Awareness Month timeline
Google releases driverless cars
Google plans to release cars with an “auto-pilot” for the public (the machine uprising will most likely follow shortly after).
Rear View Mirrors Invented
Ray Harroun utilized the first rear-view mirror during a race so he could see which cars were catching up to him.
Ford Brings Cars to the Masses
Henry Ford kick-started the concept of an assembly line building Model T's: the establishment of mass produced vehicles made cars accessible for the common folk.
First car race won
The first car race took place in America and was won by two former bicycle mechanics: Charles Duryea and J. Frank.
Automobile is invented
The first car was invented in Germany by Carl Benz—his wife, Bertha proceeded to “borrow” it to drive her and her two sons to Pforzheim from Mannheim, proving cars could drive over longer distances than just short stints.
Distracted Driving Awareness Month FAQs
What are the four types of distractions while driving?
The four types of distractions are Visual – looking at something other than the road. Auditory – hearing something not related to driving. Manual – manipulating something other than the steering wheel. And Cognitive – thinking about something other than driving.
How common are distracted driving accidents?
Each day in the United States, approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.
What are the dangers of distracted driving?
Whether you take your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel, all types of distracted driving increase your risk of car crashes, major injuries, and even death.
How to Observe Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Duh. We don’t care if your friend has to wait until you get home to find out whether or not you’re going to Josh’s party. We would much rather you stay alive to go said party.
Listen to music, podcasts, or audio books
What a great alternative to handicapping yourself with texting! Jamming out to your tunes or listening to an epic fight scene is much more entertaining than discussing what you want for dinner anyway.
Take a roadtrip with friends
Not only is this a fun way to bond, but your friends are actually there. Plus, it's rude to text while visiting with people.
5 FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE TEXTING AND DRIVING
You’re at a huge risk
Text messaging increases the risk of crash or near-crash by 23 times.
Teens are at a huge risk
The fatal crash rate for teens is 3 times greater than for drivers age 20 and over
Teens are not better at texting
Driver distraction is responsible for more than 58% of teen crashes.
Most people are hazards
Over 80% of drivers admit to blatantly hazardous behavior while driving, such as changing clothes, steering with a foot, painting nails, or even shaving.
5 seconds is a long time
Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about 5 seconds, long enough to cover a football field while driving at 55 mph
Why Distracted Driving Awareness Month is Important
Texting and swerving
People who text and drive statistically spend 10% of their time on the road outside their lane. Yikes.
43 of America’s 50 states have laws prohibiting texting and driving. South Dakota, New Mexico, Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri have laws regulating it. Arizona just extended their reckless driving laws to cover texting.
Texting is worse than drunk driving
Texters are six times more likely to wreck their car than drivers over the legal drinking limit. How horrifying is that? Answer: Very.
Distracted Driving Awareness Month dates