Distracted Driving Awareness Month: Tips to keep you safe on the roadways

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 8:00 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, a campaign to raise awareness on the dangers of distractions while behind the wheel.

Statistics show that every day in the United States, about eight people are killed in crashes where distracted driving is reportedly involved.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say about 25% of distracted drivers involved in deadly crashes in 2018 were 20 to 29 years old.

While anyone can get distracted while behind the wheel, research shows drivers 16 to 24 years old were seen using electronic devices at higher rate than older drivers since 2007.

“No matter who we are and how long we’ve driven, there’s time when we are distracted. But try to be as alert as you can and realize other people are going to be distracted,” said Ron Floyd, a driving instructor.

Floyd has trained thousands of young drivers. Even his five-year-old Kirby is getting a head start using his kid Jeep to practice “two hands on the wheel.”

If you have a young driver at home, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests leading by example and don’t drive distracted. They even recommend having everyone in the family sign a pledge to not drive distracted.

NHTSA also provided several alternatives for texting and driving:

  1. Need to send a text? Pull over and park the car in a safe location
  2. Make passengers the designated texter
  3. Put the phone in the trunk if you struggle to not use it

In South Carolina, people can face a fine of $25 for texting and driving. Conway Police Chief Dale Long said it’s not strong and isn’t attached to your driving record.

But if there’s a fatal accident and distracted driving is involved, Long said it’s much worse.

“You could face a reckless homicide charge, which is operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner which leads to the death of another,” Long said. “Obviously one of the highest things that could happen to you is a death that could occur.”

Long added that having your eyes off the road even for a few seconds endangers not only the drivers, but the passengers and anyone around them.

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