Thanks to the prevalence of smartphones and other mobile devices, distracted driving is now one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes on U.S. roadways. Because of the lethal risks it poses, the North Aurora Police Department is encouraging drivers to avoid any and all distractions—including cell phones, food, or programming your GPS while driving—and focus, instead, on driving.
To raise awareness about the dangers distracted driving poses, officers are conducting an education and enforcement campaign during the entire month of April, the goal of which is saving lives with stepped up enforcement efforts that catch distracted drivers and enforce distracted driving laws. April is recognized as Distracted Driving Awareness month.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,166 people died in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017. An analysis by the AAA Foundation, meanwhile, found that while more than 80 percent of drivers believed it was completely unacceptable for a motorist to text behind the wheel, more than a third of those same drivers admitted to reading text messages while operating a motor vehicle.
Clearly, there is more work to be done to prevent injuries and fatalities related to distracted driving. “It seems that every day, you can look out of your window and see a driver using their cell phone, eating and drinking, personal grooming, or attending to a pet, “said Chief of Police David Fisher.
“Any non-driving activity that you engage in while driving can pose as a distraction and increase your risk of being involved in a crash. If your attention is anywhere other than on the road, you’re driving distracted—and you’re driving dangerously. Do the right thing and give your undivided attention to driving. You may just save someone’s life.” The North Aurora Police Department encourages you to focus on driving and remove all distractions when you get behind the wheel.
If you need to do something distracting, follow these steps for a safe driving experience:
• Make sure your car is parked before utilizing your cell phone.
• If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it is safe to text.
• Enlist a passenger’s help to assist you in driving safely. Allow them to access your phone to respond to calls or messages, change the radio, and secure any loose items while driving.
• Do not engage in social media, scrolling, or messaging while driving. Cell phone use can be habit forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the glove box or back seat of your vehicle until you arrive at your destination. Another option is to put the cell phone in “do not disturb” mode while driving or download a safe driving app, both of which will block incoming notifications from messages or calls while you’re driving.
• Leave your pet at home or secure them before driving so that they don’t roam freely. Reaching in the back seat to attend to them, or having them climb on your lap, can cause a distraction.
• Review maps or input your route into your navigation system and adjust your side and rearview mirrors before beginning to drive.