Distracted Driving Awareness Month

LEAH URZUA

Staff Writer

Every April, people all around the world recognize and acknowledge the dangers of distracted driving through the media such as online websites or organizations. Distracted Driving Awareness Month is well known to the National Safety Council. The goal of the National Safety Council is to encourage drivers to refrain from using their cell phones while driving to help them understand the danger of being distracted, and to inform others of the risks of talking or texting with a cell phone while driving. Their website, nsc.org, provides more interesting facts about this issue and gives you the opportunity to pledge to drive cell free.

The dangers of distracted driving was brought to attention on March 23, 2010, when former Congresswoman Betsy Markey for Colorado asked that April be National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The U.S. House of Representatives voted and it was easily passed with a 410-2 vote. Another great website to find more facts and support is focusdriven.org created by Shelley Forney, a mother who lost her nine year old daughter in November 2008 because of a distracted driver. Since then, she has been reaching out to other parents, siblings, relatives, and friends through her non-profit organization. San Marcos will also have an assembly about distracted driving on April 25th.

According to http://www.distraction.gov, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and 387,000 were injured in 2011 alone. Of all American teens, 40% admit to being in a car with a driver using a cell phone in a way that put them in danger. According to Monash University, drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to be in serious car crashes. It has been proven that headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use. Of course, cell phones are not the only items that can distract drivers. Texting, eating, drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, reading, using a navigation system, watching a video, and adjusting a radio, MP3 player, or CD player can all produce the same result, being distracted from the dangers in front of you. Some people may see these things as obvious actions that we should not do, but it is possible that even if they are perfectly aware of it, they will do it anyway. This type of thoughtless behavior can put you behind bars for a long time and bring a string of charges against you.

I am shocked at how many people I see driving while on the phone,” said Kathy Castaneda, Career Center coordinator.” I hope it doesn’t take too long to get the message across because drinking and driving has also been a priority but I think this needs more focus at the moment.”

On friday April 19th, an assembly took place in the San Marcos auditorium concerning Distracted Driving. Stories were told and advice was issued.

The speaker inspired me,” said sophomore Sabrina Gordon, “I think it is so powerful to see people like her taking a tragedy and using it to raise awareness to others.”

Thanks to all San Marcos students who took the opportunity to listen to the distracted driving assembly; by gaining new knowledge about this issue, you are taking the time to help make a safer community.

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