Distracted Driving Awareness Month | Big Horn Basin Media

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Written by on April 16, 2019

April is distracted driver awareness month, and Park County Sheriff Scott Steward reminds everyone that distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of traffic crashes nationwide.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, between 2012 and 2017, nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver.  Steward points out that in 2017 alone, 3,166 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers – 8 in Wyoming and 70 in Colorado. In the last six years, 9.5 percent of all fatal crashes involved a distracted driver.

Lance Mathess with the Sheriff’s Office says distracted driving has become a national epidemic – endangering passengers, adjacent vehicle occupants, motorcyclists and bicyclists, and nearby pedestrians.

While we generally think of distracted driving as texting or talking on the cell phone, it can take many other forms: adjusting the radio station, applying makeup, eating, chatting with other passengers, or taking a sip of your drink can all distract a driver from the essential task of safe driving.

Mathess points out that there are several simple safety tips for driving in the age of cellular communication. First, wait to text until you can pull over and park your car in a safe location.  You can also ask a passenger to be your “designated texter.”

When you get behind the wheel, be an example to your family and friends by putting your phone away.

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