FLORIDA – AAA - The Auto Club Group, is urging drivers to focus on the road ahead of them and not on their smartphones in April which is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Distracted driving crashes killed 3,142 people in the United States in 2019, a 10% increase from the year before. That is an average of 9 deaths per day, according to the latest figures from AAA.

In Florida alone fatal crashes that involved a distracted driver claimed the lives of 258 people in 2019.

“Distracted driving remains a growing traffic safety problem nationwide,” said Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Any distraction, whether it be texting or talking to a passenger, could be enough to cause a crash. AAA strongly urges drivers to focus on what’s most important, the road in front of them.”

Top 3 Risky Driver Distractions

*Mobile phone use

*In-vehicle technology

*Passengers in the vehicle

In 2019, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a nationwide survey.

The survey found that 96% of drivers believe typing or reading on a hand-held cellphone while driving is very or extremely dangerous.

Yet many drivers admitted to using their cellphones behind the wheel, despite the danger.

39% said they read, and 29% admitted to typing on a smartphone at least once while behind the wheel within the past month.

Checking your phone at the stoplight can be risky too.

AAA research found that drivers can experience a “hangover effect”, where the mind stays distracted for up to 27 seconds after using smartphones or voice-to-text vehicle infotainment systems to send text messages, make phone calls or updating social media.

In other words, once that light turns green, your mind may still be focused on your phone and not on the road.

“The bottom line is, if your mind is not focused on driving, you’re unable to properly react to what’s happening on the road in front of you. That puts other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians at risk,” Jenkins said.

AAA offers these tips to avoid distracted driving:

*Put it away. Place your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation.

*Know where you’re going. If using a navigation system, program the destination before driving.

*Pull over. If you must call or text while on the road, pull off the road safely and stop first.

*Ask passengers for help. If riding with someone, seek their help to navigate, make a call or send a message.

*Be a good passenger. Speak out if the driver of your vehicle is distracted.

*Don’t be a distraction. Avoid calling or texting others when you know they are driving.

*Activate Do Not Disturb. Setting up this feature on iPhone or Android device will prevent calls from coming in while you’re driving.

Everyone should avoid distractions while in traffic. Just as drivers need to pay attention, so do pedestrians and bicyclists. Never call, text or play games while walking or cycling.

You can read the AA report on this website > https://bit.ly/3mjURmk.

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 14 million members across 14 U.S. States, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories.

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