Save A Life Don't Drive Distracted

Tallahassee,Fla.(970 WFLA)- The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is urging motorists to keep their eyes on the road and focus on driving in an effort to reduce distracted driving crashes statewide. 

The Florida Highway Patrol,is partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association and AAA - The Auto Club Group to promote April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

 “Driving distracted significantly slows a driver’s reaction time to effectively avoid a crash, and no one should take that risk,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes.   In 2016, there were almost 50,000 crashes involving distracted driving in Florida, which is more than five crashes every hour.   Last year, these distracted driving crashes accounted for more than 3,500 serious bodily injuries and 233 fatalities. 

Distracted driving crashes have increased 26 percent since 2013. To successfully avoid a crash, a driver must perceive a hazard, react and give the vehicle time to stop.   Driver perception distance, or the distance a vehicle travels from the time a driver sees a hazard until the brain recognizes it, and reaction distance, the distance a car will continue to travel after seeing a hazard until the driver physically hits the brakes, dramatically affects a vehicle’s stopping distance. Even a focused driver going 50 mph will travel nearly the length of a football field before coming to a complete stop. When a driver is not focused on the road, it limits their ability to come to a stop and avoid a crash. 

There are different types of driver distractions, including: visual (taking eyes off the road), manual (taking hands off the wheel) and cognitive (mind not on driving).  Texting is one of the most dangerous driver distractions since it involves visual, manual and cognitive distractions.  However, texting is not the only distracted driving behavior; other dangerous driving distractions include putting on makeup, tending to children in the backseat, eating, tuning the radio, checking GPS navigation and even daydreaming.

Click here for more information and resources for the Distracted Driving Awareness Month campaign

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