Tallahassee, FL - The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) are conducting the 'Put It Down, Focus On Driving' campaign during the month of April, which is designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Preliminary numbers show that there were more than 48,000 distracted driving crashes in the state of Florida. When averaged out, that comes to more than 900 distracted driving accidents each week. Three out of four of those accidents were due to the driver being inattentive behind the wheel. The crashes resulted in almost 300 fatalities and more than 2,700 bodily injuries.
Triple-A spokesperson Mark Jenkins says the top three risky driver distractions are: mobile phone use, in-vehicle technology, and passengers in the vehicle. He said it takes just seconds for distractions to lead to an accident. "All it takes is one second of looking down at your cell phone. Sending that text message is enough to divert your attention away long enough to miss that person in front of you who's slamming on their brakes or to drive through a red light and cause a crash."
Jenkins urges drivers to use Distracted Driving Awareness Month as an opportunity to identify what distracts them while they're driving. He says one good new habit could save you, even when you're not in motion. "Checking your phone at the stoplight can be risky too. Triple-A research has shown that even when that light turns green and you put your phone down, your mind might still be focused more on the text message you sent as opposed to what's happening in front of you."
For more information, including safe driving tips, information on Florida’s Wireless Communications While Driving Law, and downloadable resources, visit FLHSMV’s Distracted Driving webpage.