“What were you thinking?” That’s the question the National Safety Council (NSC) is asking during Distracted Driving Awareness Month this April in an effort to encourage all drivers to put down their phones and put their minds on the road.
Drivers using cell phones causes an estimated one in four crashes, according to NSC. Contrary to popular belief, this distraction cannot be thwarted by using a hands-free headset because, as NSC research indicates, speaking on a phone at all distracts the brain from driving.
“Many drivers have a false sense of security that hands-free devices make cell phone use while driving safe,” said Janet Froetscher, NSC president and CEO. “More than 30 research studies show hands-free devices provide no safety benefit as the distraction to the brain remains. We hope people will take time this April to help spread this important message so needless tragedies can be prevented.”
Drivers who maintain cell phone conversations and miss important details and visual cues on the road could later find themselves asking, “What was I thinking?”
National Distracted Driving Awareness Month was introduced as a resolution by former Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO) and passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in a 410-2 vote on March 23, 2010. The resolution mentions 9-year-old Erica Forney, who was struck and killed by a distracted driver in Fort Collins, CO, in November 2008. Erica’s mother, Shelley Forney, is a founding board member of FocusDriven – Advocates for Cell-Free Driving.
NSC is offering free downloadable materials, including posters, fact sheets, videos and social media posts in order to spread the word this April and beyond that distracted driving is a serious safety concern that has a simple solution: turn off your phone while you’re driving. Make the pledge to drive distraction-free here.
April also is a perfect time for employers to begin implementing total bans on cell phone use while driving for all employees. NSC also offers employers a free Cell Phone Policy Kit.
Visit the Distracted Driving Awareness Month site throughout the month of April for additional materials and to avoid your own “What was I thinking?” moment.