April is National Distracted Driving Month

April is National Distracted Driving Month

Distracted Driving Accidents

On April Fool’s Day, a 20-year-old Texas driver admitted to texting while driving. He hit a minibus, head-on, killing 13 people. The accident is a tragic illustration of the importance of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, observed each April.

The Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), California Highway Patrol (CHP), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Covina Police Department (CPD) are working together to call attention to the dangers of distracted driving. While applying makeup, eating and drinking are additional distractions to safe driving, experts agree the biggest threat to roadway safety is cellphones.

Distracted Driving Studies

A study done by Virginia Tech in 2016 created the largest naturalistic crash database available to date, with 3,500 participants and more than 1,600 verified crash events ranging in severity from low, such as tire and curb strikes, to severe, including police-reportable crashes.

Reporting Distracted Driving

The report showed that drivers more than double their crash risk when they choose to engage in distracting activities that require them to take their eyes off the road, such as using a handheld cell phone, reading or writing, or using touchscreen menus on a vehicle instrument pane. Also, according to the institution research, drivers engage in some type of distracting activity more than 50 percent of the time they are driving.

Distractions fit into one of three categoriesMan at wheel using cell mobile phone while driving car:

  1. Manual– takes your hands off the steering wheel, such as reaching for a soda in the drink carrier.
  2. Visual – takes your eyes off the road. When you drop a soda and it spills all over the floor of the car, looking down at the wet carpet and your sticky shirt if visual distraction.
  3. Cognitive – takes your mind off the task of driving. For example, if you start wondering whether you can afford to replace your soda-soaked shirt and think about which stores carry the brand you like. This rabbit trail takes your mind off the essential job of driving.

Distracted Driving Statistics:

  • Car crash set.71% of young people admit to sending a text while driving.
  • 10% of teen drivers in fatal collisions were distracted.
  • 3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle collisions involving distracted drivers in 2015. That is a 9 percent increase in fatalities as compared to the previous year.
  • Drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
  • The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) site shows that 69% of drivers in the United States ages 18-64 report they had recently talked on their cellphone while driving.

Insights about Distracted Driving

“Distracted driving is absolutely avoidable. But it continues to be a serious problem among drivers. Too many lives are lost to distracted driving. But education and enforcement can reduce the number of deaths and injuries,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow.

In California, where C&L Auto Body is located, Assembly Bill 1785 went into effect on January 1, 2017, requiring drivers to keep their cellphone out of their hands while operating a motor vehicle. Under the new law, a driver may activate or deactivate a single feature. This applies to cellphones and other wireless communication devices. Drivers can swipe or tap the screen. And the exception applies only to devices properly mounted to vehicles.

Vector image of a steering wheel and a mobile phone with a crossThe goal is to change motorist behaviors and save lives, not just in the month of April but year-round. C&L Auto Body hopes that drivers will pledge to drive distraction free, to avoid accidents. But if you are involved in a motor vehicle collision, we will be happy to help restore your vehicle, whether the damage is a minor scratch or a big crash. C&L is owned and operated by the Buonsanti family, who strives to treat clients like family. Come by the shop 781 E San Bernardino Road in Covina, contact us via email today or call (626) 445-6630.