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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

3,477 People Killed by Distracted Driving in 2015

391,000 People Injured by Distracted Driving in 2015

660,000 Drivers Using Electronic Devices While Driving During the Day

National Safety Council's Distracted Driver Study

Technology allows us to make phone calls, dictate texts or emails and update social media while driving – all actions that are proven to increase crash risk. The National Safety Council observes April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to draw attention to this epidemic. NSC wants empower you to put safety first and Just Drive.

Studies show many drivers will talk and text when they’re alone, but think twice about it when they have a passenger. Yet nearly all drivers think it’s dangerous to do so, passengers or not.

More than eight in every ten respondents to a 2016 survey in Oregon said they feel uncomfortable riding with a distracted driver.

ODOT and partner agencies Oregon State Police and AAA Oregon/Idaho are emphasizing the importance of focusing on driving when you’re behind the wheel.

“Our goal is to change cultural norms when it comes to distracted driving,” said ODOT Director Matt Garrett. “If each of us focuses on the job of driving when we get behind the wheel, we’ll save lives every year.”

Here are some tips that could save your life or the life of someone you love:

  • Turn it off and stow it. Turn your phone off or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car. Then stow it away so that it’s out of reach.
  • Use “drive mode” if your phone has it (Similar to “airplane mode”).
  • Install an app. Apps can help you avoid texting while driving. Go to your app store and search for “distracted driving.”Are you driving distracted?
  • Pull over. If you need to make a call, pull over to a safe area first.
  • Spread the word: “Do Not Disturb.” Record a message on your phone that tells callers you’re driving and will get back to them when you’re off the road, or sign up for a service that offers this feature.
  • Use your passengers. Ask a passenger to make the call or respond to a text for you.
  • X the text. Don’t ever text and drive, browse online, or read your email while driving. It’s dangerous and against the law in most states. Even voice-to-text isn’t risk-free.
  • Know the law. Familiarize yourself with state and local laws before you get in the car. Oregon prohibits the use of hand-held cell phones in addition to texting.
  • Prepare. If using a GPS device, enter your destination before you start to drive. If you prefer a map or written directions, review them in advance. if you need help while driving, ask a passenger to assist you or pull over to a safe location to change your GPS or review your map/directions.
  • Secure your pets. Unsecured pets can be a big distraction in the car.
  • Mind the kids. Pull over to a safe place to address situations involving children in the car.
  • Focus on driving. Multi-tasking behind the wheel is dangerous. Refrain from eating, drinking, reading, grooming, smoking, and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.

There are many resources available to learn more, pay attention, and save a life.

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