April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month in North Carolina
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has proclaimed April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to increase awareness that distracted drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but to everyone else on the road.
In conjunction with the proclamation, the North Carolina Governor's Highway Safety Program (GHSP) will be promoting its One Text or Call Could Wreck It All campaign with the simple goal to save lives by getting drivers to put down their phones.
"Talking on our cell phones while driving is distracting, but that doesn't stop most people from doing it," said Don Nail, director of the GHSP. "Our efforts are intended to educate our citizens about the dangers of cell phone use and other distractions while driving. We hope that they will change distracted driving habits to help protect themselves, their families, and others on the road once they see the dangers involved."
According to the NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT), 159 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver last year in North Carolina. An estimated additional 27,230 people were injured in such crashes. This is a 10.4% increase over the previous year in the number of fatal crashes that were reported as distraction-affected.
NCDOT says that there are three types of distractions—visual, manual or cognitive. The most common distraction while driving is cell phone use but anything that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off the task of driving is a hazard. Eating, looking in your vanity mirror, changing a radio station, and extra passengers are all distractions. Texting or typing on a mobile device while driving is the most dangerous distraction because it combines the three types of distractions, and it is against the law in North Carolina.
"Every driver in North Carolina has a role in this effort," said NC Transportation Secretary Nick Tennyson. "We want to especially encourage parents with teen drivers to talk to their children about the dangers of driving distracted because we know that statistically, the under-20 age group had the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes."
The NCDOT and GHSP will highlight the dangers associated with distracted driving through social media during the month of April and will hold a press event on April 14 in Jamestown at Ragsdale High School. The goal of this campaign is simple—save lives by getting drivers to remember that One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.