We see them on the road all too often – drivers using their phones to text, call, or get directions. While the devices may seem like conveniences, their use while driving puts all drivers at risk. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is a leading cause of injury or death on the road.
The NHTSA estimates that 3,116 lives were lost due to distracted driving in 2017, the year for which the most recent statistics are available. Such tragedies have led most states to enact laws to address cell phone use while driving. The efforts may be paying off – a recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that states' efforts to curb distracted driving through texting bans and awareness campaigns are associated with significant decreases in emergency room visits following motor vehicle accidents.
The National Safety Council has once again declared April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. At the FCC, we join in this effort to raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, along with ways to stay safe on the roads.
A few things to keep in mind while you're behind the wheel:
- Silence or turn off your cell phone or any other wireless device before your start your car and keep it that way while you're driving.
- If you absolutely need to send a text or call someone, pull over to a safe place before doing so.
- Lead by example. Encourage new and younger drivers to be responsible and to keep their eyes on the road, not on their devices.
For more information, visit the following:
- Our consumer guide on the Dangers of Distracted Driving
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics about wireless devices and driving
- National Safety Council information and resources
- The National Conference of State Legislators research and maps on distracted driving