The American Trucking Associations is urging motorists to put cell phones away and focus on safe driving behind the wheel as part of National Distracted Driving Month.
More than 3,100 people were killed and over 420,000 were injured in distraction-related crashes in 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The figures represent an improvement over the previous year, but ATA believes more needs to be done.
“Each year, thousands of people are killed in crashes related to distractions,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and CEO. “We urge motorists to put down their phones and keep their eyes and minds on the road.”
As part of ATA’s outreach, America’s Road Team relayed important information on the dangers of distracted driving:
Did you know?
Writing or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 MPH, that’s like driving the length of a football field – blindfolded.
If you text while you’re behind the wheel, you’re 20 times more likely to be involved in a crash than a non-distracted driver.
Talking on a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity devoted to driving by 37%.
45 states and the District of Columbia ban text messaging for all drivers.
14 states and the District of Columbia prohibit hand-held cell phone use by all drivers.
Young people are especially at risk: In 2011, 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
The ATA also listed these simple safety tips for drivers to avoid any distracted driving related incidents:
- Stay Focused – Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road at all times. One small distraction can cause an accident.
- Put Electronics Away – Put your cell phone away, as well as all electronics, while behind the wheel. Nothing is more important than getting to your destination safely.
- Plan Your Trip – Plan your route ahead of time so you aren’t distracted looking at a map or navigation system. Pay attention to highway signs and traffic.
- Be Aware of Blindspots – Trucks have large blindspots in front, back and either side. Try to avoid lingering in this space and do not cut in front of a truck.
- Be a Good Passenger - Speak up if the driver in your car is distracted
“Highway safety is everyone’s responsibility,” said Henry Bruster, America's Road Team Captain with UPS Freight, Woodville, Miss. “If we all devote more attention to the task of driving and less to our phones, it goes a long way to making sure everyone finishes their trip safely.”