April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Information from the National Association of Peer Program Professionals
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Please take a moment to distribute this message and activities to your students, staff, and parents. 

         ·            Cell phones cause an estimated 25% of all crashes – 1.4 million crashes a year.

      ·            When texting, crashing is 6 times more likely than driving while intoxicated.
·            A recent simulator study showed that drivers on cell phones look but fail to see up to 50% of the information in the driving environment.
   ·            At any given moment during the daylight hours, over 800,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone.
  ·            Executive Order 13513 prohibits federal employees from texting behind the wheel while working or while using government equipment.

Cell Phone Safety Frequently Asked Questions:

·            Is it safe to use hands-free (headset, speakerphone, or other device) cell phones while driving?

Research indicates that whether you have a hands-free or hand-held device, the cognitive distraction is significantly enough to degrade a driver’s performance.  The driver is more likely to miss key visual and audio cues to avoid a crash.
        ·            Is talking on a cell phone any worse than having a conversation with someone in the car?

Some research findings show both activities to be equally risky, while others show cell phone use to be more risky.  A significant difference between the two is that a passenger can monitor the driving situation along with the driver and alert the driver to potential hazards, whereas a person on the other end of the phone line is unaware of the roadway situation.

Take the time today to change your mobile phone voicemail to something like, “I’m sorry I’ve missed your call.  I’m either away from my phone or driving.  Your call is important and I will get right back to you as soon as I am safely able to.”

Adding such a message will help raise awareness that taking calls while driving and making a call to someone who is driving puts many people at risk including the driver, the passengers, and anyone sharing the road.

GSA offers an accredited Defensive Driving Course free to all drivers of GSA Fleet vehicles; visit www.gsa.gov/drivertraining for login information.

Sources:  National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, National Safety Council, Network of Employers for Traffic Safety, U.S. Department of Transportation