April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

As spring blossoms and we emerge from staying indoors during winter, April also brings a reminder of critical awareness. April is Distracted Driving Awareness month, help Barnes Cohen & Sullivan spread important information for drivers to reflect on their behaviors behind the wheel. In a society where there are constant distractions, staying focused on the road while driving is crucial. If you have been injured due to distracted driving, call Barnes Cohen & Sullivan for a free consultation.

Distracted driving is a prevalent issue that often affects us all. Whether it’s glancing at a notification on our smartphones, adjusting the radio, or even engaging in deep conversations with passengers, distractions come in various forms, each with its potential for danger. According to the NHTSA, 32,657 people died in distraction-affected crashes over a ten-year period from 2012-2021.  These statistics show the importance of ensuring our attention is dedicated to the road when driving.

One of the most effective ways to combat distracted driving is through legislation and enforcement. However, in many states, there needs to be a major offense on top of texting and driving before a police officer can pull a driver over (i.e. super speeding and texting and driving). Addressing distracted driving requires more than just legislative action, it also needs a societal shift towards distracted driving. Drivers are ultimately the only person who can commit to practicing safe driving habits to make a change. By resisting the urge to look at our phones, we will be able to keep a strong focus on driving while also being more mindful of our surroundings.

Distracted Driving Kills

Distracted Driving Kills

Follow these safety tips from Geico for a safe ride on the road:
  • Use your cell phone for emergencies only. When driving, cell phone use should be used for emergencies only. Even then, it’s best to pull off in a safe place to make a call. Even hands-free devices can still cause you to miss important visual cues needed to avoid a crash.
  • If you are drowsy, pull off in a safe area. Drowsiness increases the risk of a crash by almost four (4) times.
  • You should limit the number of passengers, as well as the level of activity inside the car. Teens driving with friends can create a dangerous driving environment as most teens are focused on their friends rather than the road.
  • Do your multi-tasting outside of the car. Make your calls/texts and set up your music before getting on the road.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nine (9) people in the United States are killed every year in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. The three types of driving distractions include visual, manual, or cognitive distractions. Anything that can take your attention away from driving can be a distraction. Visual distractions that cause you to take your eyes off the road such as using GPS, looking at other cars, looking at your phone, etc. are all common visual distractions on the road. Manual distractions cause a driver to take their hands off the wheel such as eating, using their phone, changing the radio station, or reaching for something. Cognitive distractions that take your mind off driving include singing, talking, daydreaming, etc.  There are many types of distractions when driving but it is important to remember to stay focused on the road when driving. The CDC states “at 55 miles per hour, sending or reading a text is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed”.

Forbes Advisor states some common facts about distracted driving include:
  • Women are more likely to use a cell phone when driving.
  • Using touchscreens while driving is up in the last decade, rising from 1.5% in 2012 to 3.4% in 2021.
  • People aged 16-24 are most likely to use their cell phones while driving.
  • Weather is not a deterrent to holding a cell phone to their ear while driving.
  • Drivers in the south are more likely to use their phones while driving.
  • The state of Georgia is on the top 20 list of states with the most distracted drivers.

The largest age group that is most at risk for distracted driving is 16-24. The risks that are often associated with distracted driving include fatal crashes and severe injuries. According to the National Library of Medicine, road traffic accidents are the third leading cause of natural deaths, with distracted driving being the main contributing factor. The National Library of Medicine also states voice messaging is more distraction-prone than a mobile phone call, as drivers are not aware of the risks generated by voice messaging while driving. The NIH says voice messaging between two vehicles increases collision rates compared to undistracted driving. The NHTSA states research now suggests that texting while driving is far more dangerous than drunk driving. The main reason for this suggestion is reaction time. While both affect your reaction time tremendously, looking at a cell phone causes the driver’s eyes to be off the road for a few seconds at a time, sometimes more.

According to dosomething.org, texting makes a crash up to 23 times more likely to occur, teens who text while driving spend 10% of the time outside their lane. Dosomething.org also states information from AT&T’s Teen Driver Survey, where 97% of teens agree that texting while driving is dangerous, yet 43% do it anyway.  The top ten (10) distracting habits include eating and drinking, applying makeup or grooming, tending to pets, keeping an eye on kids, driving while drowsy, messing with in-car entertainment, watching roadside diversions, texting and surfing social media, daydreaming, and talking on the phone.


Five (5) tips to avoid an accident due to distracted driving include:
  • Recognizing the risks. Using electronic devices, being drowsy, eating or drinking, and focusing on other passengers in the vehicle are all risky distracted driving factors.
  • Turn off the phone. Powering off cell phones completely takes away the urge to check your phone while behind the wheel.
  • Keep calm. Diving in stressful situations can lead to distracted driving tendencies. Keep your distance from erratic drivers in front of you and stay calm.
  • Prepare for your trip. Download music and navigation systems before starting a long trip. Check your vehicle’s safety settings and clear the vehicle of any objects.
  • Identify distracted drivers. Look out for drivers drifting from their lanes, driving at inconsistent speeds, or preoccupied by other distractions.


As we navigate the road of awareness this April, let us commit to being more mindful, more attentive, and more responsible drivers. Let us recognize that our actions behind the wheel have far-reaching consequences and that safety should always be our top priority. Together, let us work towards a future where distracted driving is no longer a leading cause of accidents and fatalities. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident due to distracted driving, call Barnes Cohen & Sullivan, the local, experienced attorneys you can trust.