April Is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Photo by Jennifer Peacock

OCEAN COUNTY – April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, as proclaimed by The Ocean County Board of Health.

“Distracted driving is dangerous and claimed 3,444 lives within the United States, in 2015, the last year for which measurable statistics are available. Distracted driving is generally defined as any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating or drinking, changing your radio or music selection            or even interacting with your navigation system – virtually anything which takes your attention from the road,” Public Health Coordinator Daniel E. Regenye said.

More than 660,000 drivers use cell phones while driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Council found. Most of those are teens and young adults ages 16-24.

“Texting while driving is truly the most alarming distraction, as it has been shown that sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds which is the equivalent of driving with your eyes closed across a football field at 55 mph. Safety demands that full attention is given to the task of driving, as any non-driving activity is a potential distraction that may end the life of the driver and others sharing the road,” Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Board of Health.

Distracted drivers delay braking, often miss traffic signals, all of which greatly increases the chances of crashing.

The county health department supports the national safety council’s “Just Drive” pledge, which states: “I pledge to Just Drive for my own safety and for others with whom I share the roads. I choose to not drive distracted in any way – I will NOT: Have a phone conversation – handheld, hands-free, or via Bluetooth; Text or send Snapchats; Use voice to text features in my vehicle’s dashboard system; Update Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media; Check or send emails; Take selfies or film videos; Input destinations into GPS while the vehicle is in motion

Call or message someone else when I know they are driving.”