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Distracted driver awareness

Distracted driving is one of the many dangers people face on Pennsylvania roads. A distraction is anything that causes a motorist to take their full attention from the task of driving. Common distractions include eating, drinking, talking to other people in the car, and using a cellphone. Law enforcement agencies and other organizations are working to decrease the accidents and fatalities that result from this deadly habit.

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The American Automobile Association identifies April as the month for its Distracted Drivers Awareness campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to call attention to the fact that texting and driving can be as dangerous as drinking and driving.

A study conducted by AAA showed that even hands-free phone use while driving increases the risk of accidents. This risk comes from the “hangover effect” the mind can experience for as long as 27 seconds after ending a call.

Historical context

Mothers Against Drunk Driving began raising awareness for drunk driving dangers in 1980. MADD efforts are a large part of the reason drinking and driving are socially unacceptable. The group’s efforts have also contributed to a decrease in accidents and fatalities caused by drunk drivers. Individuals and organizations concerned with road safety hope that raising awareness for distracted driving will bear the same fruits as MADD’s efforts.

Distracted driving dangers

Distracted driving decreases the reaction time a driver has to respond to things that happen on the road in front of them. A driver paying attention to a text message for five seconds at 55 MPH will travel the length of a football field without seeing the road. This “blind driving” causes as many as 25% of motor vehicle accidents causing injures and death in America.

Information provided by a national survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration highlights the need for increased awareness of this problem. Twenty percent of drivers 18 to 20 years old said texting and driving did not cause additional car accident risks. This number increased to 30% for drivers aged 21 to 34.

There is no way to ignore the fact that some risk of an accident exists each time a person gets into a car. Individuals harmed by a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent driver may benefit from talking to an attorney.