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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

According to the National Safety Council, 53 percent of drivers around the country believe that talking on the phone while driving is safe as long as they use hands-free technology. However, Pennsylvania motorists should be aware that studies show that talking on a hands-free device while behind the wheel is just as dangerous as using a hand-held device, with both raising the risk of a car crash by four times.

In an effort to save lives, the NSC has designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. As part of the campaign, the organization is offering free tips, videos, posters and other resources to educate the public on the hazards of distracted driving, particularly the dangers of talking on the phone while driving.

The NSC says that phone conversations demand more brain power than most drivers realize and can lead to delayed braking times and missed traffic signals. The organization also says that talking on the phone while driving is especially dangerous because it is so prevalent. For example, texting while driving raises the risk of a car crash by up to 23 times, but only 0.6 percent of drivers do it. In contrast, phone conversations raise the risk of an accident by four times, but 9 percent of drivers are guilty of it. Further, NSC believes that cellphone use while driving is likely underreported.

Distracted driving can lead to serious car accidents and catastrophic injuries. While it is far harder to test for inattentiveness than it is for impairment, attorneys representing injured victims can often use cellphone records and eyewitness testimony to demonstrate that a motorist was using a phone right before a collision.

Source: NSC, "Distracted Driving: One Call Can Change Everything," April 18, 2016

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