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U DriveMassDOT joins the U.S. Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) during Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April in urging drivers to avoid texting and other driving distractions. The NHTSA 2015 national distracted driving enforcement campaign carries the message: “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

Accident report data from the NHTSA found that at least 3,154 people were killed in crashes involving all distracted drivers in 2013, including those who were texting and driving.  NHTSA estimates that 424,000 Americans were injured in all distraction-affected crashes in 2013.

NHTSA’s Distracted Driving Traffic Safety Facts and Teen Distracted Driver fact sheet includes the following:

  • 10 percent of fatal crashes, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of all motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2013 were reported as distraction-affected crashes, which are defined as any crash in which a driver was identified as distracted at the time of the crash.
  • 10 percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crash.
  • 244 Americans aged 15 to 19 were killed in distraction-affected crashes.
  • In 2013, there were 480 non-occupants killed in distraction-affected crashes.

To prevent distracted driving, motorists are urged to:

  • Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
  • Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
  • Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task.
  • Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are the best defense against other unsafe drivers.

To learn more, check the Massachusetts Distracted Driving web page  and the Registry of Motor Vehicles Safe Driving Law summary.

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