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National Distracted Driving Awareness Month


If you are a distracted driver in Georgia, the Office of Highway Safety will be out weekly looking for you as April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The Office is working to reduce the number of deaths and serious crashes due to distractions. They are asking drivers to go “Hands Free for… Safety” or risk being handed a ticket for violating Georgia’s hands-free law.

Officials will be out weekly in the area looking for distracted drivers and law enforcement agencies have set up distracted driving details across the state.

“Georgia’s hands-free law is saving lives, but we still see too many drivers with a phone in their hand when they are on the road,” Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Allen Poole said. “For those who are pulled over for having a phone in their hand, do not ask for a warning because this is your warning to park your phone when you are driving.”

The office says in 2018 through 2019, national numbers for crashes due to distracted driving were up, but in Georgia numbers were down. Officials say Georgia’s lower numbers are because of the hands-free law that started in July of 2018.

According to data from NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the number of fatalities involving a distracted driver in Georgia decreased by 27 percent from 59 people in 2018 to 43 people in 2019.

“The goal of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month is to show everyone that driving is a serious responsibility that requires our full attention every time we are behind the wheel,” Poole said. “While we all think of phones when we hear distracted driving, distracted driving is anything that we do behind the wheel that takes our hands, eyes, or attention away from the road.”

Despite the downward trend, officials say they’ll still write plenty of citations for distracted driving as a part of the campaign this month.

There are three types of distraction for drivers:

Manual distractions cause a driver to take their hand off the wheel, like when eating, grooming, dialing a phone number, or typing a text message.

Visual distractions cause a driver to take their eyes off the road, such as looking at a navigational device, a crash on the road, or signs and billboards.

Cognitive distractions cause a driver to lose their focus on what is happening on the road, like when they are talking on a phone, talking to a passenger, or daydreaming.

To help prevent distracted driving crashes, drivers are urged to set their phones and wireless devices to the “Do Not Disturb While Driving” setting. This feature will block all calls and messages to your phone when you are on the road and will notify the person trying to contact you know that you are driving and will respond when you have reached your destination.

Other tips from AAA to avoid distractions while driving include:

  • Adjust navigation systems, mirrors and other vehicle features before getting on the road.
  • Store loose gear and other possessions so they do not move around when the vehicle is moving.
  • Eat meals or snacks before or after the trip.
  • Finish dressing and personal grooming at home.
  • Limit conversations with passengers and let them know your main priority is their safety.
  • If there is something important that is a distraction, pull off the road and find a safe place to park.

For more information on distracted driving, visit www.headsupgeorgia.com.

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