In an effort to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries caused by distracted driving, The National Safety Council (NSC) has designated the month of April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The initiative is designed to raise public awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and to reinforce good driving habits to help keep people safe on the road.
What is Distracted Driving?
The NSC defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving1.” There’s a lot that can happen while driving that can steal the driver’s attention.
Some examples of distracted driving include:
- Texting, talking, posting, snapping, tweeting, recording, scrolling, or doing anything else on your cell phone.
- Messing with any controllers in the vehicle such as the stereo, navigation, or temperature.
- Eating or drinking.
- Becoming absorbed in a podcast or audio book.
- Reaching down to pick something up.
- Grooming yourself or putting on makeup.
- Opening a snack for your child.
- Having a conversation with other people in the car.
Anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the steering wheel or mental focus off driving is a distraction. Even if it’s only for a second.
What Are the Consequences of Driving Distracted?
Distracted driving can come with a heavy price to pay. Distracted drivers killed 3,522 people in 2021, a little over 8 percent of all fatalities, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Overview of Motor Vehicle Traffic Crashes in 2021 report.
There can also be significant legal and financial consequences. Almost every state in the U.S. has passed laws related to distracted driving.
Check to see if your state has passed any distracted driving laws here.
Will My Auto Insurance Go Up If I Drive Distracted?
Every state handles texting while driving and other distracted driving differently. If you’re found guilty of breaking a distracted driving law or are at-fault for a collision or death that was caused because you were distracted, you might face severe legal consequences.
A ticket or at-fault accident on your driving record could impact your auto insurance premium. You might see an increase in your rate or find it trickier to find coverage.
Our agents specialize in helping all drivers, even those with a poor driving record, find auto insurance. Get started with a free quote or give us a call at 844-358-5605 to discuss your auto insurance needs.
How Can I Avoid Distractions While Driving?
The driver has one job while on the road—driving. The easiest way to reduce distractions is to prevent them from happening when possible.
The NHTSA recommends everyone follows these 5 guidelines to prevent distracted driving tragedies:
- Power down all electronic devices and make sure they are out of the driver’s reach.
- Always wear your seat belt.
- Be on the lookout for cyclists and pedestrians.
- Passengers can remind drivers to focus on the road if they get distracted.
- Set a good driving example for teenagers and children by being a responsible driver.
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1: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),Distracted Driving , April 5, 2023.