AT&T, Maryland Trauma Centers Kick Off Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The NHTSA reports that 3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle collisions involving distracted drivers in 2015. So, it's not just talking, texting or sending pictures.

Using your cell phone for anything while driving was banned three months ago, and this April, officers throughout the Central Coast will be cracking down on law breakers for Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Whether they're guilty of the practice themselves and have a prevention tip to share, or if they've been the victim of a distracted driver, CDOT invites Facebook users to send stories to CDOT as a Facebook post or private message. AT&T also has it's own "IT CAN WAIT" initiative, where drivers make a pledge to never drive while distracted.

According to data from CAPS, in 2015 and 2016 in Alabama, there were 34,949 crashes in which distracted driving was noted as a factor.

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The National Safety Council estimates that within the last year 40,000 people died in auto crashes, making this the highest rate of motor vehicle deaths in nine years.

"It's important for drivers to be engaged and, if you're a passenger, to encourage those that you're in the vehicle with to be engaged when behind the wheel". If you need to text, pull over and park your vehicle in a safe place first.

The campaign is being carried out during the month of April, which the National Safety Council has designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Almost 150 law enforcement agencies around the state are adding patrols looking specifically for those distracted by cell phones while operating their vehicles.

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State Farm, in their eighth annual distracted driving survey, found that 91 percent of people, reported owning a smartphone, and more than half say they use them while driving. So when you get behind the wheel, put the phone away, and encourage others who drive you to do the same.

New legislation introduced in the state house would prohibit the use of hand held cell phones while driving.

The most common distraction in these crashes were cell phones followed closely by other passengers in the auto, according to CDOT.

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According to a 2014 special article in the New England Journal of Medicine, the risk of a crash or near-crash among novice drivers increased with the performance of many secondary tasks, including texting and dialing cell phones.

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