The National Auto Body Council (NABC) announced that its members will be hosting events and activities to promote safe driving throughout April, designated nationally as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Eighty percent of Americans believe hands-free cell phone use while driving is safer. This is a dangerous misconception, according to a recently published study by the University of Calgary in the February issue of Human Factors, which found almost equally high accident rates among users of hand-held and hands-free devices.
“We want to remind all drivers that when they are behind the wheel, they have just one job, and that is to focus on driving,” said Gene Lopez, chairman of NABC’s Distracted Driving Initiative.
To educate teens and drivers of all ages on the dangers of distracted driving, NABC member collision repair shops are using NABC’s Distracted Driving Toolkit, which includes virtual-reality goggles and presentation materials to deliver the message at schools and various events throughout their local communities.
April is an especially critical month for teen drivers because of prom season, followed by graduation celebrations, and then the “100 deadliest days of summer” beginning Memorial Day when more teenagers are on the road during the school recess.
The NABC, a business advocate partner with AT&T’s It Can Wait program, cites survey results that show that 97 percent of teens say texting while driving is dangerous — yet alarmingly 43 percent admit to doing so. However, teens are not the only guilty parties. The AT&T study also reveals nearly half of commuters (49 percent) admitted to texting while driving – a higher rate than reported by teens.
The NABC urges drivers of all ages to take action this month:
- Install and use apps that block texts and phone calls when you’re behind the wheel. Reading just one text message keeps your eyes off the road an average of five dangerous seconds.
- Take the pledge to end distracted driving at ItCanWait.com – then text “NABC” to 50555 to reinforce your commitment to the pledge with NABC.
“As a collision repairer, we have seen the impact and consequences of texting while driving and other distracted driving behaviors,” said Lopez. “Let’s all make a pledge to end distracted driving, keep our eyes on the road and help make our community safer.”