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AAA: April Is Distracted Driver Awareness Month

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Traffic is beginning to pick up across the country and there are increased vaccinations and decreased pandemic restrictions.  With that in mind, AAA Michigan and The Auto Club Group is reminding drivers about the importance of focusing on the road ahead and not on their smartphones during “Distracted Driving Awareness Month.”

According to 2019 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Distracted driving crashes killed 3,142 people in the United States – that’s an average of 9 deaths per day.   That number was up ten percent from the year before.  In Michigan alone, there were 64 fatal crashes involving a distracted driver, resulting in 71 fatalities in 2019.  Here’s Adrienne Woodland, spokesperson for AAA – The Auto Club Group.

“Any distraction, whether it be texting or talking to a passenger could be enough to cause a crash.  And AAA strongly urges drivers to focus on what’s most important, and that’s the road in front of them.”

Woodland says April is Distracted Driver Awareness month.  AAA notes the top three risky driver distractions as: mobile phone use, In-vehicle technology and passengers in the vehicle.  Woodland says many drivers are ignoring safety warnings.  Woodland says the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a survey in 2019. She says most drivers, at least 96 percent of them know typing on or reading your cell phone can be dangerous while driving.

“But we also found that 39-percent of those admitted to reading on a smart phone at least once while behind the wheel. And 29-percent admitted to typing on a smartphone at least once behind the wheel in the previous month.”

Woodland adds even checking your phone at a stoplight can be risky. 

So, during this month and beyond, AAA is offering tips to avoid distracted driving.  They include putting your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation.  If using a navigation system, program the destination before driving and pull over if you must call or text while on the road.

You can find more information at AAA.com

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.