The National Safety Council (NSC) launches many education initiatives and efforts to try to keep drivers safe in the Carolinas and throughout the U.S. Many agencies are promoting Distracted Driving Month, to remind motorists of the danger throughout the month of Apirl.
Distracted Driving Month begins on the 1st of April, but unlike April Fools Day pranks, distracted driving is a deadly serious problem. Our Charlotte accident lawyers know that almost 33,000 people were killed in crashes in the U.S. in 2010 and NSC indicates that approximately 24 percent of all crashes occur due to drivers using cell phones. Other distractions can also make roads dangerous, but NSC calls out cell phone use as worthy of special concern, so the use of phones is a major focus during distracted driving awareness month.
NSC Efforts to Educate the Public on Distracted Driving
National Safety Council has many different types of educational and informational material available on its website to help people to learn of the dangers of distracted driving during the April awareness month. For example, posters are available and there is a white paper that helps to explain the distracted brain.
One of the most important tools on the website, however, is the pledge to drive cell free . Every driver should take this pledge and make up the decision to give up using their cell phones when they are driving. NSC's reasons for focusing on cell phone use include:
- Risk: NSC points out that the dangers of cell phone use are just as bad whether you're using a cell phone or a hands free device. Either way, you're four times as likely to crash.
- Frequency: NSC says that around 9 percent of all drivers on the road at any one time are on a cell phone. More drivers are on their phones than doing any other type of distracting behavior.
- Prevalence: Greater than two out of every three drivers reported in a survey that they'd talked on their cell phone while driving in the past month.
NSC believes the combined risk of a crash coupled with the frequency of cell phone use in cars makes this behavior especially deadly. Yet, as the Governor's Highway Safety Association reports, only 10 states have imposed a statewide ban on all handheld cell phone use by all drivers. This means lots of people are likely going to continue to drive and talk as long as it is legal- even though it is still really dangerous.
With efforts like April's Distracted Driving Awareness Month, however, hopefully fewer people will decide to talk on their phones once they have been made aware of how risky it is. However, NSC cautions that education alone can only go so far and encourages both tougher laws as well as visible enforcement efforts of distracted driving laws.
Past public service campaigns have made a difference on action but people are far more likely to make the safe and smart choice when forced to do so by laws. As NSC points out, for example, only about 14 percent of people regularly wore their seatbelts in 1981 (and this was after 15 years of effort). In the last two decades, though, enforcement and stronger laws have resulted in about 84 percent of people wearing seat belts today.
Hopefully states will toughen up their distracted driving laws and the laws as well as public education efforts will make a difference in the number of people on cell phones. In the meantime, you can sign the pledge and vow not to be one of the people making the roads more risky for everyone.