The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) designates April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Every day, at least nine Americans die and 100 are injured in distracted driving crashes. Cell phones, dashboard touchscreens, voice commands and other in-vehicle technologies pose a threat to our safety. The consequences of those distractions are not worth the convenience they offer. Ignore the distractions and just drive to keep us all safer on the roads.

While all driving distractions are dangerous, texting is the most alarming because it requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver.  According to the NHTSA, texting while driving increases your chance of being involved in a motor vehicle crash by 23%. The least amount of time it takes to send a text message is 5 seconds. The distance traveled in 5 seconds going at 55 mph is 300 feet, the length of a football field.  

Before you start driving:

Program your GPS navigation and enable the audio controls so you don’t have to look at the screen.

Finish reading/sending texts and emails.

Turn off your phone and put it in the glove compartment, center console or your bag.

Stay focused while driving by:

Avoiding using voice commands with your phone or dashboard touchscreen - hands-free systems are just as distracting as handheld.

Using the do not disturb feature or drive mode on your smartphone.

Having a passenger control GPS navigation or maps, or respond to messages for you.

Setting your radio or streaming music before you begin driving.

Scheduling breaks where you can check your phone on longer drives if you don’t have a passenger to assist you.

Pulling over and safely parking to take a call or respond to messages.

“When driving, stay focused on the task of driving and make it your goal to return home safely to your loved ones at the end of every day. Social media can wait - no update, tweet or video is worth a life,” says Acadian HSE Director Neil Davis.