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For the second year in a row, April marks ‘National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.’ Originally an issue championed by former Colorado Congresswoman Betsy Markey, due to the death of a young girl in her district, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor this month-long observance in March 2010.
Distracted driving is an issue that I have covered regularly here, and a cause that I will continue to champion as the nation observes how legislation, regulation and vehicle offerings will begin to shape consumers’ choices and behaviors. Last April, Be Car Chic launched the Distraction Free Fridays (#DFF) campaign with another car blogger who was passionate about this topic.
While distracted driving is an important topic for contemplation every month of the year, National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and our ongoing campaign are good reminders for those of us who need to put the device aside and focus on the drive.
It’s not just cell phones.
Many movements I see are dedicated to non-cell phone usage. While that’s a great start, cell phones aren’t the only culprits of distraction when we are behind the wheel, as we saw in December with an automaker’s social media manager. In this age of technological gadgets, we also have to worry about iPads, iPods, and other visual-based technologies that force us to take our eyes off the road and hands off the wheel to operate. And let’s not forget the non-tech aspects of distraction – passengers still list as one of the top distractions for drivers.
Recommit to safer driving.
April also marks the start of a new season – Spring, which reminds us to clean up our bad driving habits. I’m calling upon all of our readers to take the initiative to either commit or recommit to distraction free driving. Whether you start with just putting away your mobile device on your Friday commute (i.e. taking the Distraction Free Fridays pledge) or choose to quit ‘cold turkey,’ I’m here to say that any effort you make to drive safer is appreciated and makes an impact.
Distracted driving is a non-partisan issue.
Regardless of where you stand on the political lines, for or against federal regulations and recommendations, saving lives through more attentive driving should belong to neither party. Driving sans distraction is about saving lives through each individual that holds a driving permit or license taking personal responsibility – and initiative – to do what’s right.
In a world where staying connected is ubiquitous, it is my hope that the readers and supporters of Be Car Chic will lead the way as exemplars of smart, safe driving.
I hope that you’ll partake in this movement again this year. Join us each Friday (and hopefully more often than that) for Distraction Free Fridays here on the blog and on Twitter by using the hash tag #DFF. Check out the below resources to learn more!
Thanks for reading and safe driving!
Melanie Batenchuk, Editor
National Distracted Driving Awareness Month Resources:
- NHTSA Distraction.gov
- National Safety Council
- Drive Smart Virginia
- EHS Today: April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
- MSN Money: Girl drivers more likely to text, talk
- Washington Post: Automakers call for cooperation with cellphone developers to fight distracted driving