Many drivers would agree that arriving safely at their destinations is a priority, yet every day thousands put their safety at risk through distracted driving. April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so take a moment to review the real dangers of distracted driving and reinforce the importance of keeping our eyes on the road and our hands on the wheel.

Distracted driving is defined by The National Highway Traffic Safety Admin (NHTSA) as “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system.”

In 2022, 3,308 deaths and an estimated 289,310 injuries were attributed to distracted driving. That is over a quarter of a million people who did not make it safely to their destination because someone undervalued focused driving. When we get behind the wheel, our choices do not only affect our own safety—we make a choice for the safety of everyone around us.

The NHTSA launched its Put the Phone Away or Pay campaign on April 1, 2024, to help spread awareness of the potential consequences of distracted driving. The state of Georgia has made it illegal to use a handheld phone under any circumstances while driving. Beyond the potential grave consequences of distracted driving are high fines for using a phone while driving.

The NHTSA reports that in 2022, distracted-driving crashes accounted for 8 percent of all fatal crashes, 12 percent of injury crashes, and 11 percent of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes. Remember, most calls and texts can wait. If not, be sure to pull over and fully park the car before attending to urgent calls or texts.

Additionally, social media scrolling is an increasingly prevalent form of distracted driving and should be treated with equal caution. If you struggle to ignore phone notifications while driving, try setting your phone to “Do Not Disturb” or putting your phone elsewhere in the car where it is out of reach until you arrive at your destination.

Road safety is a collective effort. Your choice to stay focused helps everyone to travel safely. To learn more, visit the NHTSA Distracted Driving webpage.