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Eyes on the Road: Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Today’s world is full of distractions. But that doesn’t change the fact that driving any vehicle is a responsibility…one that we take ownership of when we are issued a license to operate it. April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. When you are behind the wheel (or handlebars, if driving a motorcycle or riding a bike), your attention should be 100% on the task at hand.

Distractions aren’t limited to cell phones usage. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) identified three different types of distracted driving.2

1) Visual. This could also include your GPS, an accident you are passing, checking out a billboard or even marveling at that fully restored ’65 Ford Mustang as you pass. In other words, distractions that cause you to take your eyes off of the road.

2) Manual. This is the category that cell phone use falls into. However, this also refers to reaching for something in your car, switching radio stations to avoid that song you hate so much, or even scarfing down your lunch while driving back to work. In short, these are distractions that cause you to remove your hand from the wheel.

3) Cognitive. This might involve daydreaming about winning the lottery or worrying about what you’ll have for dinner tonight. It could be talking to your significant other on the way home from work or rocking out to your favorite song. To summarize, these are distractions that take your mind away from driving.

Just the Facts, Ma’am

If you still think answering that text while driving is not that big of a deal, read over these statistics:

  • More than 400,000 motorists were injured in accidents caused by distracted driving in 2020.1

  • Drivers are distracted by their phones at least 10% of the time while driving.1

  • 3,522 people were killed in 2021 because of distracted driving.3

Which is more important: Answering that text or making it home alive?

No matter how urgent a text or phone call may seem, it’s not worth your life or the lives of others. Here are a few tips to keep your attention on the road, and away from your phone:

  • Put electronic devices out of reach before driving. Use hands-free devices if you must take a call or pull off the road and park in a safe location.

  • Lead by example for younger drivers. Discuss the dangers and consequences of distracted driving and follow best practices.

  • Passengers? Speak up! Offer to make a call or send a text for your driver. Keep their attention on the road.

Employers Beware

Employers are often found liable for employee crashes while using cellphones while driving. Employers should consider creating a cell phone policy for all employees, company vehicles, company cellphones, and all work-related communication devices. This reduces risk and liability drastically.

If you need any assistance updating your facilities cell phone use policy, STEP would be happy to help! Contact us today for assistance with this or any of your other written programs or policies.




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