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It is always important to understand the dangers of distracted driving and April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) approximately 660,000 drivers are operating a cell phone or mobile electronic device while driving at any given daylight moment in the United States.
Distracted driving is a serious danger to drivers and to others on our roadways. In 2013, 3,154 people were killed and nearly 424,000 were injured in car accidents involving distracted drivers. Drivers under the age of 20 who are inexperienced are the most at risk, causing 10% of all distracted driving related collisions.
Distracted driving isn’t simply using a phone while driving. Distract driving can be:
· Using a navigation system;
· Watching a video
· Adjusting the radio
· Talking to passengers;
· Using a smart phone
Other statistics collected by our government highlight just how serious a problem distracted driving is:
· As of December 2013, 153.3 billion text messages were sent per month in the United States
· Drivers in their 20s make up 27% of all fatal distracted driving crashes
· Engaging in tasks such as reaching for a phone or dialing a number using a hand held device increases the risk of getting into a car wreck by three times.
· The average time your eyes are off the road while texting is 5 seconds. At 55 Mph, this is enough time to travel the length of a football field.
It is extremely important that everyone understand the dangers associated with distracted driving. In West Virginia, our state government recognizes the dangers associated with distracted driving. That’s why it is illegal in West Virginia to use a handheld device while driving. If you are using a handheld device while driving, you can be pulled over and given a ticket.
Distracted driving is a major problem facing motorists. The next time you are behind the wheel, put your phone down and drive and remember, one text or call could wreck it all.