April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and state transportation officials will be attempting to drive home a life-saving message for all motorists throughout the month to buckle up and put the phone down.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s Office of Highway Safety Buckle Up/Phone Down campaign (bupdky.com) features videos, radio spots, social media and digital advertising in both English and Spanish. Additionally, focus groups and online surveys are being conducted to improve the campaign. The survey is open to the public and can be completed through April 15 at https://bit.ly/BUPDSurvey.

Over the past decade, distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes on our nation’s roads. According to KOHS, each year in Kentucky, distracted driving results in more than 50,000 crashes, more than 15,000 injuries and approximately 200 deaths.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or mind off the task of driving is a hazard, texting and using a phone while driving is especially risky because it combines all three types of distraction – visual, manual and cognitive.

According to the NHTSA, wearing a seat belt gives motorists the best chance of preventing injury or death if involved in a crash. Properly fastened seat belts contact the strongest parts of the body, such as the chest, hips and shoulders. A seat belt spreads the force of a crash over a wide area of the body, putting less stress on any one part, and allows the body to slow down with the crash, extending the time when the crash forces are felt by the occupant.

According to KOHS, each year in Kentucky, more than half of those killed in motor vehicles are not wearing a seat belt.