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For Immediate Release,
4/7/2010
Contact:
Kathy Lane
Communications Director
(630) 775-2307
kathy.lane@nsc.org
 
NSC & FocusDriven Join Together to Recognize April as
National Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Note: NSC updated its annual attributable risk estimate in 2011 using new data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The updated assessment estimates that at least 23 percent of all traffic crashes - or at least 1.3 million crashes - involve cell phone use per year. An estimated 1.2 million crashes each year involve drivers using cell phones for conversations and at least 100,000 additional crashes can be related to drivers who are texting. Cell phone conversations are involved in 12 times as many crashes as texting.

Itasca, IL – The National Safety Council and FocusDriven – Advocates for Cell-Free Driving today announced their support of this month as the inaugural National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Throughout April, NSC and FocusDriven will urge Americans to consider the lives of others on the road and stop using cell phones while driving. NSC estimates 28 percent of all crashes – or 1.6 million crashes – each year are caused by drivers using their handheld or hands-free cell phones and texting while driving. This is much greater than the number of crashes caused by any other distraction.

Both nonprofit organizations encourage drivers to commit to not using their cell phones while driving during the month of April and beyond. They suggest drivers silence, turn off or put their phones away in trunks or glove compartments, reducing the temptation to answer a ringing phone, text message or e-mail. Drivers also are asked to change their voicemail greeting to alert callers they may be driving.

“If drivers can go one month without using their phones while driving, they will find out – as many of us have – work still gets done. Many drivers realize most of the calls they thought were so important, really aren’t. It is our hope drivers will decide to make the change permanently. Doing so will make our roadways safer for everyone,” said Jennifer Smith, FocusDriven president and founding board member.

“National Distracted Driving Awareness Month also is the perfect opportunity for businesses to implement cell phone policies to protect employees. When businesses allow employees to conduct business on cell phones while driving, they are putting their employees at a 4 times greater risk of a crash,” said Janet Froetscher, NSC president and CEO. “NSC provides many resources, including a free Cell Phone Policy Kit, to help businesses protect employees."

National Distracted Driving Awareness Month was introduced as a resolution last month by Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO) and passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in a 410-2 vote on March 23. The resolution mentions 9-year-old Erica Forney, who was struck and killed by a distracted driver in Fort Collins, CO, in November 2008.

“Erica’s memory will forever live on through this resolution and help prevent other distracted driving deaths from occurring,” said Shelley Forney, Erica’s mother and founding board member of FocusDriven.

About FocusDriven
FocusDriven – Advocates for Cell-Free Driving (focusdriven.org) is a nonprofit advocacy organization for victims of motor vehicle crashes involving drivers using cell phones. FocusDriven supports victims of cell phone distracted driving and families of victims. Its goal is to increase public awareness on the dangers of cell phone distracted driving by putting a human face on the disastrous impact of the behavior, in order to promote corresponding public policies, programs and personal responsibility.
 
About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.
 
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