April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, as designated by the National Safety Council (NSC), and auto insurers join the national campaign to remind the country that distracted driving crashes can be prevented by modifying driving habits and strengthening auto safety laws.
The National Safety Council reports that motor vehicle deaths surpassed 40,000 for the second consecutive year in 2017. The estimates from the NSC show 4.57 million people were seriously injured in auto crashes.
“Distracted driving—and the ubiquitous use of smartphones behind the wheel—is one of the leading causes for the rise in vehicle crashes nationwide,” said Bob Passmore, assistant vice president of personal lines policy at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). “Advanced technologies have made cars safer than ever in recent years, so it would be logical to think that roadway crashes and deaths would be decreasing. Unfortunately, vehicle crashes and fatalities are rising sharply across the country. And with more people on the roads for spring break and during the warmer months, the potential for distracted driving crashes increases.”
According to software developer TrueMotion, 92 percent of drivers use their smartphones while driving, and 71 percent text while driving. “Too many drivers are still texting, talking, surfing the web, and using social media and apps on their smartphones while driving,” said Passmore. “Auto safety campaigns like Distracted Driving Awareness Month are important to educate drivers about the risks of distracted driving and encourage them to stop using smartphones and eliminate other distractions while driving. Continued support for the implementation and enforcement of distracted driving laws, which discourage texting while driving and ban handheld cellphone use, also is critical to prevent tragedies.”
“Auto safety is a top issue for auto insurers. We hope the dialogue on distracted driving will continue, and we urge lawmakers and other industry thought leaders to continue addressing the impact of motorist behavior as an important part of the road safety equation,” added Passmore.