Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association Shares Safety Tips During Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association would like to share with residents important information relating to Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which runs throughout the month of April.

Law enforcement throughout the state will be stepping up patrols this month as part of the national Distracted Driving enforcement campaign.

Distracted driving is defined as any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.

Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

An analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that 3,142 people died in distraction-affected crashes in 2020, an increase from the 3,119 such deaths in 2019. Traffic safety experts believe that driver inattention is a significant factor in motor vehicle crashes and fatalities.

The NHTSA offers these tips for motorists to avoid a distraction-affected crash.

  • Before driving, turn your phone off and put it out of reach
  • Set your phone to “Do Not Disturb While Driving” mode
  • Let your friends and family know that you’ll be driving and can’t take their calls or texts
  • If you have to make a call or send a text, pull over
  • Watch for pedestrians and bicyclists – especially at night
  • Remember to buckle up. Seat belts are your best defense against a distracted driver

For more distracted driving safety information visit the NHTSA website here.

###

Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association Shares Safety Tips During Distracted Driving Awareness Month