The National Safety Council (NSC) encourages all motorists to observe Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April and this year is urging legislators across the country to enact comprehensive laws to further prevent distracted driving injuries and deaths on our roadways.
The NSC believes a full ban on electronic device use behind the wheel is the best way to keep drivers safe; however, data collected by the Council indicates that while many states have implemented partial distracted driving laws, still others are woefully behind in addressing the issue.
According to the NSC State of Safety report, which grades states on actions and policies they have taken—or not taken—to reduce risk for all residents, significant work at the legislative level still needs to be done to address distracted driving in the U.S.
The report evaluated each state and Washington, D.C., on whether they have a texting ban for all drivers, as well as whether they have a total cellphone ban for teens and novice drivers.
Four states—Florida, Arizona, Montana and Missouri—lack a law in either area, and 16 states have addressed only one of the two areas. Since the report was completed last year, New Mexico, Texas and Iowa have joined 27 other states and D.C. in passing legislation in both areas.
“The National Safety Council is encouraged to see legislators addressing distracted driving at the state level, but more work needs to be done,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the NSC. “No state currently has a law that completely bans all electronic-device use behind the wheel, and the Council believes a full ban—including a ban on hands-free electronic devices—is the most effective way to prevent distracted driving crashes.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration acknowledges that distracted driving data is incomplete. States such as Connecticut, New York and Wisconsin are leading the way when it comes to including details about handheld cellphone use, texting and other distracted driving measures in crash reports, according to the “Under-counted is Under-invested ”study by the NSC.
“It is only by collecting and analyzing crash data that we can truly understand the impact of distracted driving our roadways,” Hersman said. Joining the Road to Zero coalition provides another opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. The Council leads the 650-group coalition with USDOT, and all are committed to ending roadway fatalities by 2050.
The NSC observes Distracted Driving Awareness Month each April to remember the thousands lost each year to preventable crashes. It will host a Thunderclap on social media at 8 a.m. CST Monday, April 2, and it will host a webinar—“Engaging Ways to Address Distracted Driving at Work”—at 11 a.m. CST Thursday, April 19.
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