April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Distractions while driving delay your reaction times, which will interfere with your defensive driving techniques.
By driving distracted, you’re robbing yourself of precious seconds that you might need to avoid a close call or deadly crash.
In 2019, distracted driving killed 3,142 people - a 10% increase from 2018. Young drivers seem more prone to using their phones while driving, but other age groups are also driving distracted. Texting, talking, using phone, adjusting the radio, setting your navigation, applying makeup, eating or drinking are all distractions.
Texting, which includes messaging, is considered the most dangerous type of distracted driving because it combines visual, manual and cognitive distraction.
Consider these safety tips for a safe ride:
- If you need to send a text, pull over, and park in a safe location before sending or reading texts.
- If you have a passenger, ask that person to be the “designated texter.”
- Do not scroll through apps, while driving. If you have trouble keeping your hands and eyes off your phone, put it in the glovebox, trunk or back seat until you arrive safely at your destination. 
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) has established a safety campaign, U Drive, U Text, U Pay. Forty-eight states have passed laws making it illegal to text while driving. The first full week in April, you may notice an increase in police enforcement of texting while driving laws and reminding drivers of the dangers.
As of July 1, 2019 - texting while driving is a primary offense, which means you can be pulled over by law enforcement and fined for texting and driving. As of January 1, 2020, you will receive a citation for using any cell phone in a hand held mode in a school or construction zone.
Fines and penalties:
- Texting - first offense drivers will be fined $30 and no points will be assessed to their driving record.
- Texting - Second Texting and Driving offense within 5 years will be considered a moving violation and carry a $60 fine and 3 points on your driving record.
- Texting in a School Zone - 2 points added to the primary offense.
- Texting resulting in a crash - 6 points added to the primary offense.
Distractions while you are driving can be very dangerous. At 40 MPH you are traveling more than 58 feet per second. So if you look away for just 5 seconds, your vehicle has traveled more than 290 feet. Imagine what may have happened in 290 feet. Cars may have stopped, a child may have walked into the road, and when you look up it it too late to stop.
Distracted driving causing an accident is reckless driving … Don’t Do It.