DOT declares April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Car crashes occur regularly throughout the state of Florida. While there are many reasons that car accidents happen, one of the most common reasons these days is distracted driving. Recognizing this, the federal government has declared April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

There are of course many ways in which a driver can become distracted while behind the wheel. The prevalent use of cell phones is at the top of the list. The use encompasses not only talking on the phone while driving but sending messages via texting as well. As is likely easy for many to imagine, teenagers are particularly susceptible to these behaviors.

According to a spokesperson from AAA, eighty percent of teenagers have admitted to texting while driving. Taking into account all drivers, a study out of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute indicates that a car crash is 23 times more likely to occur when the driver is texting.

Some states have taken steps to rein in distracted driving by making it illegal to text while driving. So far, a total of 26 states have passed a ban on it. Florida is not one of them. At least one other state that has adapted a ban on the use of all handheld devices, California, has seen a 22 percent drop in the number of fatalities due to car accidents in the two years since the law has been adopted. Whether the same result would happen in Florida remains to be seen. After four years of trying, legislators have not yet succeeded in passing the law.

Source: WJHG, “It’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month,” April 2, 2012