April is Distracted Driving Month; local authorities ask drivers to stay focused on the roads

Roanoke Valley News
The 7th annual Distracted Driving Summit will be held at the Hotel Roanoke on Sept. 25-26.

The 7th annual Distracted Driving Summit will be held at the Hotel Roanoke on Sept. 25-26.

(WFXR) — The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles has designated April as “Distracted Driving Month” and local authorities are encouraging motorists to stay focused while driving.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 3,000 people were killed in 2018 due to vehicle accidents which can be linked to distracted driving.

A study from Virginia Tech reports drivers who used a hand-held phone increased their crash risk by two to 3.5 times compared to model drivers, defined as being alert, attentive, and sober.

Meanwhile, 80% of all crashes and 65% of all near-crashes involve driver inattention within three seconds of the crash.

Texting or any other kind of phone manipulation while driving increases your crash risk by 2300%, according to a post from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Drivers are urged to follow these safety tips:

  • Need to send a text? Pull over and park your car in a safe location. Only then is it safe to send or read a text.
  • Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
  • Do not scroll through apps, including social media, while driving. Cell phone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of the vehicle until you arrive at your destination.

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