No life is worth losing to driver distraction. Last year in Oklahoma, 8,646 crashes involved distracted driving. Forty resulted in deaths and another 202 left persons seriously injured, according to the latest data from Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. Ask any involved and they will tell you no call, text message or Snapchat is worth these horrific tragedies.
Anything that diverts attention from driving — eating and drinking, adjusting navigation, talking to other passengers, or talking or texting on the phone — can result in tragedy.
Despite what some drivers may think, hands-free is not risk-free. Even with your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel, you are not safe unless your mind focuses on the drive. Looking away from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk of a crash.
Avoid distractions while driving by setting vehicle systems like GPS, seats and sound systems before hitting the road, as well as finishing dressing and personal grooming at home before you leave.
The consequences of alcohol-impaired driving and texting while driving can be eerily similar, so AAA urges drivers: “Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated.” Put aside electronic distractions and never use text messaging, email, video games or internet functions, including those built into the vehicle, while driving. Stow your smartphone away, turn it to airplane mode, or activate call/text blocking features.
Drivers should always stay focused and avoid anything that diverts attention. Be sure to actively scan the road, use mirrors, and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.
Plain and simple - focused drivers save lives. AAA urges all drivers to pay attention and focus on the road during this National Distracted Driving Awareness month and all year long. For more information, visit AAA.com/dontdrivedistracted.