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Cleveland drivers should observe National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

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The school year is nearing an end, prom plans are being put into place, vacations are looming on the horizon, excitement is in the air. With all of this in mind, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) http://www.nhtsa.gov has declared April to be National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. NHTSA wants to remind all drivers about the dangers of distracted driving.

The National Safety Council (NSC) http://nsc.org is also endorsing April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, urging drivers to stop using cell phones while driving, to recognize that hands-free devices offer no safety benefit, and to understand the dangers of the cognitive distraction to the brain. NSC also urges drivers to pledge to drive cell free.

To remind teenagers, especially, about the dangers of distracted driving, NHTSA has posted a 30-second PSA which shows a car of teenagers who are happily driving. Suddenly, disaster happens because of a moment of distraction. It is featured in a Huffington Post piece, and is an eye-opener for anyone http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/07/text-while-driving-psa_n_5105638.html. It comes with a warning that it contains violent images.

Additionally, NHTSA has a designated website to direct attention to the critical issue of awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. The website, http://www.distraction.gov, reports that more than 3,300 people were killed and more than 420,000 people were injured in accidents involving distracted driving in the U.S. in 2012.

http://www.distraction.gov quotes some very alarming statistics:

  • Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use.
  • Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.
  • A quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive.
  • At any given moment during daylight hours, over 660,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone.

Ohio became the 39th state to ban texting and driving in 2012. Locally, many towns are passing their own ordinances. Lyndhurst, Moreland Hills, and Pepper Pike have made texting subject to primary enforcement. Many towns, including Beachwood, North Royalton, South Euclid and many others, have outlawed the use of handheld cell phones for all drivers.

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