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SPOTLIGHT

Distracted Driving Awareness Month continues

By Steve Clary, Safety and Loss Control Specialist
According to the NHTSA, a person takes their eyes off the road for five seconds while reading or sending a text message. At 55 mph, this is the same as driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and the Loss Control Department at KACo wants to highlight the dangers of driving while distracted throughout the month.

There are many ways a driver can be distracted while operating a vehicle including texting, talking on a cell phone (handheld and hands free), eating, operating a touchscreen in a vehicle, or any other activity that takes the driver’s eyes and mind off the task of driving.

The National Safety Council (NSC) completed an analysis of data from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) and determined that 3,142 deaths were attributed to distraction-affected crashes in the U.S. in 2020. This means that approximately nine people died every day from accidents that were absolutely preventable.

It is important to understand there is no distinguishable reduction in risk while driving and talking on a handheld device and driving while talking on a hands free device. The cognitive distraction is virtually the same.

The best way to reduce the risk of having an accident related to the use of a cell phone is not to use a cell phone while driving. Period. There is no conversation, email or text message that can justify injuring or killing another person while driving a motor vehicle. The majority of people surveyed about the use of cell phones while driving identify this behavior as a major public safety concern according the NSC.

It is estimated that 80 percent of crashes are related to driver inattention. The No. 1 source of driver inattention is attributed to the use of a cell phone, and there are approximately 100 million people using their cell phones every day while driving. The annual cost of vehicle crashes while using a cell phone is estimated to be around $43 billion.

According to the NHTSA, a person takes their eyes off the road for five seconds while reading or sending a text message. At 55 mph, this is the same as driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. A distracted driver is 23.2 times more likely to have a collision while driving than a driver who is paying attention. It is impossible to safely operate a motor vehicle while driving blindfolded.

While we put the spotlight on safest driving practices this April, let’s all work to make safe, focused driving a standard practice every day.

For more information, contact Safety and Loss Control Specialist Steve Clary or another member of the Safety and Loss Control team at 502-223-7667. You also can message us at www.kaco.org/about/contact-us/insurance/.

Kentucky Association of Counties
400 Englewood Drive, Frankfort, KY 40601