April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness and Enforcement Month. Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on America's roadways. This risky activity can divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving, while endangering the safety of the driver, passengers, and bystanders.
In 2012, there were 3,328 people killed and 421,000 injured nationwide in crashes involving distracted driving. In 2013, there were 18,761 traffic crashes including 54 fatalities as a result of distracted driving in Tennessee.
“When you text while driving, you take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving. That puts lives in danger, and no one has the right to do that,” said Kendell Poole, Director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office.
Text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, and is by far the most alarming distraction. Tennessee has a primary texting law that is enforced by the Tennessee Highway Patrol and state-wide law enforcement.
“The Tennessee Highway Patrol takes driving while distracted very seriously,” said Sergeant Bill Miller, Public Information Officer. “One of THP’s main goals with our enforcement efforts is to change those reckless or dangerous driving habits that increase the chances of a crash occurring.”
According to Sergeant Miller, troopers are looking for any unsafe action that takes away from the responsible and proper operation of a motor vehicle. Troopers patrol daily in the familiar black and cream patrol cars, as well as on police motorcycles. The THP also utilizes unmarked patrol vehicles to detect reckless behavior.
“When drivers text and drive that creates a very dangerous, reckless situation and detecting those distracted drivers is definitely a priority of the THP” said Sergeant Miller. “If you are texting and driving, or doing anything that creates an unsafe situation on the road, then troopers are going to take the appropriate action. If you choose to drive drunk, reckless or distracted then you will lose, don’t do it.”
The Governor’s Highway Safety Office urges drivers to make safe choices when driving on Tennessee roadways. Take a moment to pull over if you need to make a call, or send a text. Consider asking your passenger to make the call or text for you. In Tennessee, texting while driving is against the law and considered unsafe. Any situation that causes a driver to become distracted can be extremely dangerous to the driver and fellow Tennesseans. Our goal is to make sure you and your loved ones ARRIVE at their destinations safely.
For more information about distracted driving, please contact Megan Buell, 615-337-7685 or visit our website at www.tntrafficsafety.org.