(Chelsea Update would like to thank Dennis Raymo for the information in this story.)
“U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” leads Distracted Driving Awareness Month effort
In support of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, law enforcement agencies will be joining forces across the country this week to promote enforcement and awareness of state and local texting and distracted-driving laws.
This annual campaign is part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) U Drive. U Text. U Pay. high-visibility enforcement effort that runs from April 8 to April 12.
According to the Michigan State Police (MSP) Criminal Justice Information Center (CJIC), in 2019 there were 18,096 distracted driving crashes in Michigan, resulting in 70 fatalities.
Nationwide in 2019, the number of fatalities linked to driver distraction was 3,142, or nearly nine percent of all fatalities that year. This included 566 non-occupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, and others) killed in crashes involving a distracted driver.
“Any activity that takes your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel is extremely reckless and puts you and others on the road at risk,” said Michael L. Prince, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) director. “Whether it’s texting, eating, drinking, using GPS or talking to other passengers, it’s all dangerous while driving.”
Michigan law prohibits a driver from reading, manually typing, or sending a text message while driving. Exceptions are in place for reporting crashes, crimes, or other emergencies.
The research project is supported with federal traffic safety funds provided by the United States Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and enforcement will be coordinated by the OHSP.
For more information about distracted driving, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.