UNITED STATES, (WTHI) - April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. It serves as a perfect reminder of how you can stay safe on the roads!
Distracted driving is becoming more of a problem now than ever before. According to the CDC, every day, about 8 people in the United States are killed in crashes that involve a distracted driver. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of Americans are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver each year. Local experts are urging you to put down your phones and focus on the road.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is calling distracted driving a "deadly epidemic" on our roads. CDC experts say driving at 55 miles per hour while reading a text is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
"Last year in the United States, there were 3,142 deaths that were caused by distracted driving," Sergeant Matt Ames with the Indiana State Police said. "Those deaths can be avoided if people took the opportunity to put their cellphones away and operate the vehicle and just be ready to drive when you get behind the steering wheel."
Sgt. Ames says, unfortunately, he sees distracted driving all of the time. He says because of distracted driving, accidents increase by 400%.
"No text or call is worth your life or the life of others out there," he said.
The CDC cites three different types of distracted driving. Visual, taking your eyes off of the road. Manual, taking your hands off of the wheel. And cognitive, taking your mind off your driving.
In the state of Indiana, you could receive a fine of up to $500 for texting and driving. Sgt. Ames says one of the best things you can do is set your phone to do not disturb, turn off your phone entirely, or encourage your passenger to be the designated texter. This can not only help you avoid potential accidents, but it keeps everyone around you safe as well.
"The most important thing is when you get in your vehicle, and you are driving, you want to reach your destination safely," he said. "There is no text, there is no social media post, or anything that is worth your life or the lives of others traveling on the roadway."