National distracted driving awareness month

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration's Highway Safety Office is bringing awareness to National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

During April, safety advocates from around the country are encouraging drivers to drive without cell phones.

Texting and talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal in Maryland, but people still do it, and it's extremely dangerous.

A new study by the AAA  Foundation for Traffic Safety found talking and texting are the leading causes of distracted driving.

All during April, the MTA's Highway Safety Office is focused on making drivers feel like talking or texting while driving is socially unacceptable.

The office is promoting safety apps that automatically send calls to voicemail, as well as forward a response to the incoming caller.

More than 800,000 drivers are using a hand-held cell phone at any given moment during daylight hours according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but only 57% of drivers recognize it as a serious threat to their personal safety.

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration's Highway Safety Office has ten tips for managing distractions while driving:

  • Turn your cell phone off before you get in the vehicle.
  • Place the cell phone in the back to avoid reaching for it.
  • Avoid wearing headphones
  • Do not multitask - drivers make an average of 20 major decisions during every mile of driving.
  • Use safety apps to avoid texting and talking while behind the wheel.
  • Stay focused because distracted driving can make a driver 23 times more likely to crash.
  • Change voicemail and outgoing greeting message to indicate you are currently driving.
  • Ask your passenger to make a call for you.
  • Prepare for your trip before pulling off
  • In the event of an emergency, always pull over to safe place and make the call.
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