ITASCA, Ill. -- April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, an observance the National Safety Council brings to national attention by sharing safe driving resources and personal safety stories. NSC urges all people to be attentive behind the wheel and just drive during April and all months.
Preliminary estimates show more than 46,000 people died in preventable crashes on U.S. roads in 2021, a 9% increase over 2020. While causation is not yet detailed, reckless behaviors such as speeding, lack of seat belt use and distracted driving all continue to plague our roads. Mobile devices and in-vehicle systems are often the culprit in distracted driving incidents, while other distractions, such as interacting with passengers, eating, fatigue as well as stress, also contribute to these crashes.
"We can all share a story of witnessing distracted driving," said Mark Chung, executive vice president of roadway practice at NSC. "Whether we are behind the wheel, a passenger, riding a bicycle, or even walking, we see it every day. I urge us all to take responsibility to stop distracted driving. Every road user must put safety first for themselves and others by allowing each other to just drive."
Each year, distracted driving kills more than 3,000 people or approximately eight people each day. That's eight parents, children, friends and co-workers, and we know this number is severely underreported. Yet, many people continue to drive distracted despite the known dangers and threats it brings to U.S. roads. The consequences are deadly; Tom Goeltz, a longtime safety professional, is someone who knows that type of loss heartbreakingly well.
"In 2016, my daughter Megan and her unborn child were killed in a car crash by a distracted driver," said Goeltz, who is a member of the NSC Survivor Advocate Network. "Our family has never been the same, and we have since dedicated our lives to advocating for stricter laws around distracted driving and educating people on the dangers of it. From the bottom of my heart, please take safety seriously and don't drive distracted; if someone had made a safer choice, my daughter and grandchild may still be here today."
Distracted driving takes the lives of people of all ages but particularly some of our youngest road users: teens. Car crashes are the leading cause of preventable death for teens, and NSC offers resources to help save younger, as well as older, lives on our roads:
- Utilize resources from DriveitHOME™, an initiative of the National Safety Council to help teens build experience behind the wheel including The New Driver Deal, a parent-teen driving agreement, and Pointers for Parents, a comprehensive collection of driving lessons designed around the changing experience levels of teen drivers.
- Download our free report: Understanding Driver Distraction. The report offers compelling evidence and concludes that the safest option is to completely eliminate driver use of cell phones and interactive, in-vehicle infotainment systems. The report also includes recommendations for drivers, employers, legislators and manufacturers.
- Join our Distracted Driving Awareness Month Twitter chat at 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 13 to learn about distracted driving, ask questions about roadway safety and engage with other organizations focused on keeping workers safe on the road. Use the hashtag #JustDrive22 to be included in the conversation.
- Take the NSC Just Drive Pledge and commit to drive distraction-free.
- Donate to NSC to help make roads safer for all road users.
- Understand that multitasking is a myth, and there is no safe way to use a cell phone while driving.
- Visit nsc.org/justdrive for ready-to-use resources to share in your workplace and community.
If someone you know was killed or seriously injured in a distracted driving-related crash, please consider joining the NSC network of survivor advocates. Safety is personal, and NSC wants to help share your story to save lives.
About the National Safety Council
The National Safety Council is America's leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for over 100 years. As a mission-based organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment. We create a culture of safety to not only keep people safer at work, but also beyond the workplace so they can live their fullest lives.