Distracted driving more than texting, talking

These days, it seems like everyone uses their cellphone all day for everything under the sun—from checking the weather and news, to catching up with family and friends, to scheduling appointments. We use our cell phones to check social media, order groceries, and listen to our favorite songs. But this constant cellphone use comes with a cost: distraction.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver during 2012-2017. In fact, there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017. That means nearly 10 percent of all fatal crashes that year were reported as distraction-affected.

While we generally think of distracted driving as texting or talking on the cellphone, it can take many other forms: adjusting the GPS, applying makeup, eating, or even chatting with other passengers can distract a driver from the essential task at hand—safe driving. The bottom line is this: If your attention is anywhere other than the road, you’re driving distracted and you’re driving dangerous.

The month of April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The goal of the month is to spread the message about the dangers of distracted driving, and to remind drivers of the consequences of their distracted actions.

Of course, everyone knows texting while driving is distracting and dangerous, but people often ignore the risks and do it anyway. Check out my next blog post for some simple steps you can take to avoid distracted driving.