Sometimes, Family Needs To Come Second

Sometimes, Family Needs To Come Second

Distracted Driving Awareness Month is a time to change habits.

Deborah Hersman is president and CEO of the National Safety Council.

​Family comes first. That's always a good rule, except when behind the wheel, then safety should take priority.

Last week, the National Safety Council released the results of our distracted driving survey, which found that more than 4 in 5 Americans feel the most pressure from their families to drive distracted. True, family should always be a priority, but in my home, people know that the first rule – the rule to end all rules – is this: Get home safely.

Drivers who think a call from their mother or a text from their child is more important than driving safely should consider the statistics regarding distractions and car crashes. Drivers using a cell phone while driving are four times more likely to crash.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and it's a great time to establish – in a family or in a business – that being safe behind the wheel is more important than being connected. NSC offers a variety of resources to address distraction. Further, there are several apps for both Apple and Android phones that recognize when a user is driving and block incoming text messages while sending calls to voice mail. Users can put phones in the glove compartment or shut off ring tone and text message alerts.

In addition, passengers can improve safety by encouraging drivers to ignore calls and texts or by stepping in for the drivers, taking the call or reading the text themselves.

Our survey results reflect the ongoing struggle by drivers to accurately assess risk:

  • 54% of drivers still feel pressure from work to drive distracted
  • 66% of drivers would talk on the phone while driving through a parking lot

These statistics suggest that, for too many, being distracted behind the wheel is an acceptable condition, but the reality is that distracted driving raises the risks and makes car crashes – with the injuries and deaths that come with them – far more likely. 

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so make sure your loved ones know that no exchange is more important than getting home safely. By committing to a safer drive, you can engage in face-to-face conversations rather than distracted communications.


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