April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
HARRISBURG, Pa., April 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Emphasizing the dangerous and sometimes deadly consequences of driving while distracted, PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch, P.E., today urged all motorists to focus only on driving while behind the wheel.
"Any time a driver diverts their attention from the task of driving – even for a second – they put themselves and others at unnecessary risk," Schoch said, noting that April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. "Driving is a skill that demands 100 percent of your attention, 100 percent of the time."
Distracted driving is any action that draws attention from the safe operation of a vehicle, such as talking or texting on a cell phone, eating, combing hair or adjusting devices such as radios and GPS units.
PennDOT statistics show driver distraction played a role in 10 percent of all crashes in Pennsylvania over the past five years. Also during that time, nearly 340 of the more than 7,000 crash fatalities statewide were the result of a distracted driver. Last year alone, nearly 14,000 crashes involved a distracted driver.
PennDOT believes such statistics are underreported because police verification of distracted driving requires an eyewitness or relies on the driver to admit they were distracted.
While distractions pose a safety risk to drivers of all ages, younger and novice drivers are at extra risk due to their inexperience. Over the past five years, there were nearly 13,000 crashes involving a 16- to 19-year-old distracted driver, resulting in 60 fatalities.
"Each of us is responsible for our own actions on the road and other drivers are relying on you to make smart driving decisions. The time has come to hang up the phone on distracted driving," Schoch said.
Media contact: Craig Yetter, 717-787-0485
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Transportation