April is Distracted Driving Awareness month and the Hawai`i Police Department says the will be focused on enforcing violations.
“Driving while you are distracted greatly increases the risks of being involved in serious and possibly fatal crashes,” HPD officials said Thursday.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, nine percent of fatal crashes in 2016 were reported as distraction-affected crashes. Six percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. Nine percent of drivers 15- to 19-years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the times of the fatal crashes. Hand-held cell phone use while driving is highest among 15- to 29-year-old drivers.
“Cell phones have a place in our lives, but not while driving,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King. “Everyone should understand the very real dangers of texting while driving. Taking your eyes off the road for a moment is all it takes to cause a crash and change lives forever. Remember, no text or call is worth a life.”
To prevent tragedies due to distracted driving, HPD urges motorists to:
- Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
- Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
- Speak up when you are a passenger, and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task.
- Always wear your seatbelt. Seatbelts are the best defense against unsafe drivers.