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4/19/2013 - Three steps you can take to help support Distracted Driving Month


Ensuring all passengers in a vehicle are safe can prevent distracted driving from happening.

For several years now, traffic safety officials have used the month of April as an awareness period to better inform the public about the perils of driving while distracted. In order to curb this type of activity, traffic authorities say they need everyone's help. The Governors Highway Safety Association offers a few recommendations for how motorists can avoid being tempted to answer a call or send a text message.

1. Ask passenger to dial. Occasionally, people may need to get directions after losing their way or simply want to make a call to a friend. Provided it's legal to talk on a cellphone, GHSA suggests that drivers make use of their passengers, asking them to dial the phone number, then hand it back to them once the call has been made. Alternatively, if no one else is in the car, pull off to the side of the road or into a parking lot so that safety is adhered to.

2. Secure all passengers, including pets. When people think of distracted driving, they often think of texting and talking on a phone. But they can take on a variety of forms, such as attending to a pet who's acting up. Ensure that pets are properly secured before taking to the road, such as by strapping them in with a seatbelt or tying their leash to a door handle, GHSA recommends.

3. Follow the law. Several states don't allow motorists to use any type of handheld device whatsoever. GHSA points out that drivers can know if their state is one of them by speaking with their local legislator or checking the "Cellphone and texting laws" section of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's website.

Insurers receive thousands of auto insurance claims each year due to accidents caused by driver distraction. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute says that distracted drivers are 23 times more likely to get into an accident than those who focus their attention on the road.

To learn more about what you can do to prevent distracted driving, click here to visit the GHSA website.


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