Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Just Drive.

Though traffic has dropped significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, our roads have only gotten more dangerous. On a typical day, more than 700 people are still injured in distracted driving crashes. Talking on a cell phone – even hands-free – or texting or programming an in-vehicle infotainment system diverts your attention away from driving. Keep yourself and others around you safe and #justdrive.

Join NSC during Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April to help make our roadways and our people safer. Whether you’re driving a forklift, semi-truck or just headed home after work, attentive driving is more important than ever. Create a distracted driving program and engage your workforce with ready-made communications and resources. Sign up now and you’ll receive access to materials as soon as they’re ready.

Take Action Today.

Commit to driving distraction-free by taking the NSC Just Drive Pledge. And, consider donating to NSC to help us keep our roads and each other safe. We train drivers and advocate for safe driving programs that make a difference. Your support helps us make the roads safer for everyone.

Learn more at https://www.nsc.org/road-safety/get-involved/distracted-driving-awareness-month


The Consequences.

During a portion of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, from April 8 through 12, you may see increased law enforcement on the roadways as part of the national paid media campaign U Drive. U Text. U Pay. This campaign reminds drivers of the deadly dangers and the legal consequences – including fines – of texting behind the wheel. Also, on April 8 state highway safety offices and law enforcement agencies across the country will take part in Connect to Disconnect, a 4-hour national distracted driving enforcement and awareness initiative. The goals: to demonstrate a nationwide commitment to enforcing texting laws, and to reduce traffic crashes caused by distracted drivers, ultimately preventing injuries and deaths associated with cell phone use and texting while driving.

Forty-eight states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers; 25 states and territories prohibit drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving; and 39 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands ban cell phone use by teen or novice drivers.

Get more from NHTSA at https://www.nhtsa.gov/distracted-driving/april-distracted-driving-awareness-month 

How to Handle a Roadside Emergency

This article from the Michigan Department of Transportation is a great reminder for all drivers…

For the last 5 years (2014-2018), approximately 10% of all pedestrian-related traffic crash fatalities have involved a roadside emergency. For example, a driver getting out of their car after a crash and then getting hit and killed, or a driver running out of gas and getting hit while walking to the gas station. Generally, the safest thing to do if you are involved in a roadside emergency is to stay in your car, with your seat belt buckled, until help arrives.

MSP Roadside Emergency

If you are involved in a crash:

  • Stay in your car.
  • Keep your seat belt buckled.
  • Drive your car to the shoulder or next exit safely, if possible. Michigan is a “Clear It or Steer It” state.
  • Activate your vehicle’s emergency flashers.
  • Call 911 or the local police department for help.
  • Remember you must report a crash that involves a motor vehicle, causes injury, or causes more than $1,000 in damages.
  • Moving your vehicle to a safe place on the shoulder or nearby exit or parking lot is not leaving the scene of a crash.

 If your vehicle is disabled or out of gas:

  • Put your vehicle in park.
  • Activate your vehicle’s emergency flashers.
  • Call for roadside assistance, or a friend to bring you some gas.
  • Stay in your car with your seat belt buckled while you wait.
  • If you get out of the vehicle (to change a tire for example), make sure you and the part of the car you are working on does not face traffic.

 If you get out of your vehicle:

  • Stand with your vehicle between you and traffic.
  • If walking, wear a reflective vest if possible, and walk against traffic, as far to the side as possible.

 Michigan’s Move Over Law:

  • Motorists are required to slow down and move over for stationary emergency vehicles with their lights activated.
  • Slow down to at least 10 mph below the posted speed limit (for example, slow to at least 60 mph in a posted 70 mph area).
  • Fully move over into an open lane. If that is not possible due to traffic, weather, or road conditions, slow down at least 10 mph below the posted speed limit and pass with caution.
  • The law applies to the following vehicles:
    • Police
    • Fire
    • Rescue
    • Ambulance
    • Road Service (tow trucks and MDOT courtesy vehicles)
    • Road Maintenance
    • Utility Service
    • Solid Waste Hauler
  • Violating the Move Over Law when an emergency vehicle is involved is a civil infraction subject to two points on your driver’s license and a fine of $400.
  • Violating the Mover Over Law when a solid waste collection, utility service, or road maintenance vehicle is involved is a misdemeanor.
  • If the violation causes the death of a police officer, firefighter, or other emergency responder, the motorist faces up to 15 years in prison and/or a $7,500 fine.
  • If the violation causes an injury to a police officer, firefighter, or other emergency responder, the motorist faces up to 2 years in prison and/or a $1,000 fine.

 If you are driving past the scene of a crash:

  • Use caution when passing a vehicle parked on the shoulder. If possible, slow down and move over to pass, even if the vehicle looks abandoned.
  • Use hands-free calling to call 911 or the local police. Or safely exit the highway or pull into a safe area and park and then call for help.
  • First responders are trained to assist others, but if you must stop to help, take extreme caution:
    • Park your vehicle as far off the shoulder as safely as possible.
    • Activate your flashers.
    • Try and stand on the opposite side of your vehicle than traffic.
  • Weather conditions (snow, ice, rain, wind, fog) can increase the distance needed to stop. When driving in adverse weather conditions, slow down.

 Emergency kit:

  • Keep an emergency preparedness kit in your vehicle. If you have to get out of your vehicle to retrieve it, do so quickly and return to your vehicle and buckle your seat belt. Your kit should contain:
    • Batteries
    • Flashlight

Learn more about the Office of Highway Safety Planning’s materials and campaigns by visiting their Michigan Traffic Safety Materials Catalog page.