Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April marks the beginning of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a life-saving initiative that becomes more necessary every year. In 2020, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A.) reported 3,142 fatalities due to distracted driving accidents, all of which were 100% preventable. 

This year, the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (G.T.S.C.) announced that New York State and local law enforcement will be helping to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving through the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign. Created by the N.H.T.S.A., the safety campaign focuses on increasing community efforts to reduce distracting driving through education and strict penalties for those caught putting others at risk.   

Distracted Driving Stats Nationwide 

American drivers are inundated with distractions behind the wheel, mostly of their own doing. The N.H.T.S.A defines distracted driving as any non-driving activity that diverts driver’s attention from the road. The most common driving distractions plaguing motorists in New York include: 

  • Smartphones
  • GPS navigation
  • LED display boards 
  • Radios 
  • Passenger conversations
  • Eating and drinking
  • Smoking 
  • Applying makeup 

Texting and scrolling through social media have become the most common distractions leading to accidents. The N.H.T.S.A. reports this activity typically steals a driver’s attention for 5-seconds. While seemingly short, a car in motion at 55 mph can travel the length of a football field during this time, causing the driver to miss a range of hazards, surrounding vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists in their path. 

Pandemic-Related Distracted Driving Factors

In New York City, pedestrians and cyclists often pay the ultimate price when drivers fall victim to road distractions. Especially since the pandemic, pedestrian traffic fatalities have skyrocketed due to a sudden uptick in reckless and distracted driving. 

Drivers checking their phones or eating a meal behind the wheel can easily miss a pedestrian in a city with millions of people commuting by foot every day. Incidents of cars jumping curbs, running red lights, and failing to stop at crosswalks occur far more often than we’d like to admit. 

Other pandemic-related factors increasing distractions on the road include the uptick in ridesharing drivers and delivery trucks. Uber and Lyft drivers are especially prone to distracted driving accidents, constantly dependent on their app for ride instructions and directions. Delivery drivers, also reliant on their navigation devices, operate on strict deadlines due to the high demand for expedited shipping services and home deliveries resulting from lockdown periods. 

U Drive. U Text. U Pay. 

Regardless of why drivers become distracted, New York State law enforcement hopes to spread this message during Distracted Driving Awareness Month: If you’re behind the wheel, you’re responsible for keeping others safe. 

The U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign focuses on saving lives from preventable accidents by encouraging drivers to stay alert. From April 4 to April 11, local municipalities and law enforcement across 48 states will work together to warn communities that distracted driving is a deadly trend we can’t afford to continue.

Outreach education efforts by the G.T.S.C. include utilizing billboards, social media, radio, and television ads to help remind drivers on the road about the deadly consequences of distracted driving. For those caught in the act, strict penalties will be enforced to deter future recklessness from occurring. 

Channel 6 News reports that during the 2021 U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign, over 1,671 tickets were issued for distracted driving violations. Penalties for distracted driving can range from $50 to $450 depending on the history of offenses. Repeat offenders can lose up to 5 points on their driver’s license or risk having their license suspended or revoked. 

Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys

At the law firm of Pazer, Epstein, Jaffe & Fein, we have been fighting for New York City victims injured in negligent motor vehicle accidents for over 60 years. If you or a loved one has sustained a serious injury in a motor vehicle accident, our experienced trial attorneys are here to help.

Contact us for a free consultation anytime through our online form or call 212-227-1212 to review your case and your rights.