The month of April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which means that many organizations will be reiterating the dangers associated with distracted driving. The NHTSA will be kicking off a second national distracted driving enforcement campaign titled “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” As part of this campaign, law enforcement officials will be cracking down on motor vehicle drivers from April 10 until April 15, especially those texting or otherwise distracted while behind the wheel.
This U Drive. U Text. U Pay. safety movement has provided grant funding totaling $8.4 million to states throughout the U.S. so that they are able to support the fight against distracted driving. The campaign will include a social media campaign, as well as television and radio media to raise public awareness about the serious dangers associated with distracted driving, texting in particular. Law enforcement agencies will increase interstate and roadway patrols, spotter locations, and stationary police vehicles in locations throughout Georgia communities in an effort to catch and cite drivers violating the law.
Most Georgians have been exposed to some type of distracted driving prevention campaign material, but many still fail to comprehend just how dangerous it can be. Most drivers incorrectly believe the statistics do not apply to them and that they defy the odds. Unfortunately, it often takes an accident occurring before distracted drivers wake up and realize that they are at danger when not paying full attention to the road.
“If you’re texting, you’re not driving.”
In 2013 alone, approximately 424,000 people were injured in auto accidents that involved distracted drivers. 3,154 people died, which is a decrease from 2012, but unfortunate nonetheless. Distracted driving is defined as any action that diverts a motor vehicle driver’s attention away from the main task of driving. Whether the action is eating, changing radio dials, navigating GPS devices, or talking on the phone, all distractions endanger not only the driver responsible for the actions, but passengers and bystanders as well. Text messaging is the form of distracted driving that most people think of, simply because it is one of the most alarming distractions. Texting requires manual, cognitive, and visual attention, all of which are needed on the road while driving.
The Click It or Ticket and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over safety campaigns reached millions of U.S. citizens, so the NHTSA and safety officials hope the new U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign will be a success as well. For more information on distracted driving or to read more statistics, visit www.distraction.gov.