The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) designates April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Across the country, this campaign works to keep America’s roads safe by reminding drivers to stay focused when behind the wheel.
At any given moment in the United States, more than 600,000 drivers are using cell phones or electronic devices while behind the wheel; additionally, more than half of all fatal car crashes involve cell phone distractions. In Massachusetts, the Safe Driving Law restricts sending, typing, or reading messages on handheld devices while driving. This law also bans any use of handheld electronics by drivers younger than 18.
It is important to understand that distracted driving is more than just texting while driving. Distraction occurs any time you take your eyes off the road (visual distraction), your hands off the wheel (physical distraction), or your mind off the main task at hand (cognitive distraction). Some examples of other distracted driving behaviors include: putting on makeup, eating, and fiddling with the radio dial. Driving without adequate amounts of sleep is another common problem that leads to unfocused driving.
Given that nearly half of all U.S. high school students aged 16 or older text or email while driving, getting teens involved in distracted driving prevention is important. This teen action toolkit provides guidance for engaging younger citizens in conversations about the dangers of distracted driving. Working with organizations that aim to eliminate reckless driving decisions and encouraging our youth to gather more information on the issue and form their own groups to discuss this topic are great ways to start making a positive change. Teens can also participate by signing the pledge to drive cell free.
The best way to prevent distracted driving is to educate drivers about its dangers. Show your concern by sharing your personal stories as well as the stories of others directly affected by this destructive activity with friends and family. There are many useful ways to manage distractions, including a few smartphone apps designed to prevent distracted behavior while on the road.
No matter what route you follow to stay focused when driving, what’s important is that you actively work to make a difference.
Let us know what you’ll be doing to curb distractions when behind the wheel. Comment below or tweet us, @MassGov.
Massachusetts Animal Control: Pam’s Story posted on Feb 11
Pam Peebles discusses her first animal rescue story and her work at the Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control & Adoption Center, which provides animal control services for the communities of Springfield, Chicopee, and Holyoke. “Every single day since I was 17 or 17 and a half, …Continue Reading Massachusetts Animal Control: Pam’s Story
3 Fun Things to Do (Indoors) in Massachusetts over Presidents Day Weekend posted on Feb 9
George Washington’s Birthday is observed on the third Monday in February every year. According to the National Archives, Congress declared it a legal holiday in 1879 after years of unofficial celebrations to honor our first commander in chief. For many Americans, the holiday has become …Continue Reading 3 Fun Things to Do (Indoors) in Massachusetts over Presidents Day Weekend
National Donor Day: Give the Gift of Life posted on Feb 4
Show your support! Join our HeadTalker campaign for National Donor Day. If you have received or renewed your driver’s license or state ID, you have probably heard a familiar question: “Would you like to be an organ and tissue donor?” Feb. 14 is National Donor …Continue Reading National Donor Day: Give the Gift of Life