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April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month.

During the month of April, the effort is focused on bringing attention to the dangers of driving while distracted. The effort is also focused on reducing vehicle crashes caused by distractions.

Distracted driving includes anything that takes your eyes off the road, your mind off driving, or your hands off the steering wheel. Some of the activities include texting and talking on a cellphone, grooming, using a PDA or GPS, changing music, eating, and talking to passengers. These activities contribute to taking a driver’s attention from driving.

Some facts about distracted driving include:

  • People who text while driving are 23 times more likely to die in a crash.
  • Reaction time is 30 percent worse while texting and driving.
  • Studies show a driver texting spends an average of 10 percent of the time outside the correct road lane.
  • A driver whose eyes are off the road while traveling at 55 mph, covers more than the length of a football field in five (5) seconds, the average time it takes to look at a text message.
  • In 2014, 3,179 people were killed and 431,000 were injured due to distracted drivers.
  • Ten percent of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.
  • A study by the National Safety Council showed cell phone use is involved in at least 26 percent of all motor vehicle crashes.

On July 1, 2011, it became illegal to text, email, type, or transmit on a communication device while driving in the state of Indiana.

Indiana’s law was changed July 1, 2015, to prohibit drivers under the age of 21 from using cell phones and other communication devices while driving. The only exception is for 911 emergency calls.