FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT:||Buel C. Young||MVA External Affairs|
National Distracted Driving Awareness Month Kicks Off in Maryland
Driver distraction is a leading cause of crashes; drivers urged to pay attention while driving
GLEN BURNIE, MD (March 31, 2014) – The month of April has been designated as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) is actively supporting efforts to help drivers maintain focus while driving on Maryland’s roads. Using handheld cell phones, changing radio stations, and eating are leading causes of traffic crashes both nationally and in Maryland. MVA wants to reminding motorists that local law enforcement will be vigilant throughout the month stepping up enforcement involving texting or talking on cell phones while driving..
“Safety on our roads is one of the highest priorities of the O’Malley Administration,” began Motor Vehicle Administration Administrator and Governor’s Representative for Highway Safety, Milt Chaffee. “When drivers don’t pay full attention while driving, lives are put on the line.”
From 2008-2012, an average of 250 people lost their lives each year in Maryland due to driver distraction and 30,000 more were injured each year in that same time period. While any distraction can prove deadly, one of the most prevalent forms of distracted driving is the use of handheld electronic devices, whether it is a cell phone, a tablet or some other device. At any given time throughout the day in America, roughly 660,000 drivers use cell phones or manipulate electronic devices while driving, according to national data.
“Unfortunately, many people still text and talk on their handheld devices,” said Mr. Chaffee. “This effort is intended to educate our community about the dangers of cell phone use and other distractions while driving. We hope that once people see the statistics and realize the dangers, they will change their driving habits to help protect themselves and others on the road.”
As a part of Maryland’s campaign to raise awareness regarding the dangers of driving while distracted, motorists are urged to do the following:
- Park the Phone Before You Drive! Talking on a cell phone or texting is a leading source of driver distraction. A ticket for using a handheld device while driving can cost as much as $160 in Maryland.
- Manage Your Time. Driving is not the time to talk or text on a cell phone.
- Drive Defensively. Just because you don’t drive distracted doesn’t mean that others won’t.
- Ride Responsibly. If you are a passenger and a driver is using a handheld cell phone, ask them to pull over or wait until they arrive at the destination. Avoid causing distractions as well.
- Set a good example! Adults who use a handheld cell phone while driving are sending children the message that those behaviors are acceptable.
- Always wear your seatbelt. Not only is it the law to wear your seatbelt in every seat in Maryland, proper use of a seat belt is your best defense against a distracted driver.
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Note: Maryland's Toward Zero Deaths campaign focuses on preventing impaired driving, aggressive driving, and distracted driving, while also promoting seat belt use. For more information on the Toward Zero Deaths campaign, please visit www.towardzerodeathsmd.com.