DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — With COVID vaccinations increasing, and many state restrictions lifting, traffic is picking up across the country. AAA is reminding drivers about the importance of focusing on the road ahead and not on their smartphones.
In Ohio, there were 41 fatal crashes in 2019 as a result of distracted driving, 49 people were killed.
AAA driving school manager Mike Belcuore said, “This really needs to be a focus as people are getting back in the car to get retrained that set the cell phone down and forget it and get back to driving with just their focus on the road.”
Distracted driving crashes kill an average of 9 people per day nationwide. “Everybody knows it’s not safe to drive intoxicated. And putting that same amount of focus on the distracted driving. The texting and driving and using that word “intexticated” to get people to make that connection that it’s just as dangerous to do that as it is to drive impaired,” he said.
Officials said driving impaired can also mean texting while at a red right. Belcuore said, “After 27 seconds your brain is still pretty much engaged in the text message or whatever you did at that stop light so once you throw it down when the light goes green and you go you can miss things like a pedestrian crossing a road, a car making a right on red because they don’t think you’re going.”
AAA encourages drivers to end distracted driving by following these tips:
- Put it away–place your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation
- Know where you’re going.–if using a navigation system, program the destination before driving
- Pull over–if you must call or text while on the road, pull off the road safely and stop first
- Ask passengers for help. If riding with someone, seek their help to navigate, make a call or send a message