April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, an observance the National Safety Council brings to national attention by sharing safe driving resources and personal safety stories. NSC urges all people to be attentive behind the wheel and just drive during April and all months.
Preliminary estimates show more than 46,000 people died in preventable crashes on U.S. roads in 2021, a 9% increase over 2020. While causation is not yet detailed, reckless behaviors such as speeding, lack of seat belt use and distracted driving all continue to plague our roads. Mobile devices and in-vehicle systems are often the culprit in distracted driving incidents, while other distractions, such as interacting with passengers, eating, fatigue as well as stress, also contribute to these crashes.
“We can all share a story of witnessing distracted driving,” said Mark Chung, executive vice president of roadway practice at NSC. “Whether we are behind the wheel, a passenger, riding a bicycle, or even walking, we see it every day. I urge us all to take responsibility to stop distracted driving. Every road user must put safety first for themselves and others by allowing each other to just drive.”
Each year, distracted driving kills more than 3,000 people or approximately eight people each day. That’s eight parents, children, friends and co-workers, and we know this number is severely underreported. Yet, many people continue to drive distracted despite the known dangers and threats it brings to U.S. roads. The consequences are deadly; Tom Goeltz, a longtime safety professional, is someone who knows that type of loss heartbreakingly well.
“In 2016, my daughter Megan and her unborn child were killed in a car crash by a distracted driver,” said Goeltz, who is a member of the NSC Survivor Advocate Network. “Our family has never been the same, and we have since dedicated our lives to advocating for stricter laws around distracted driving and educating people on the dangers of it. From the bottom of my heart, please take safety seriously and don’t drive distracted; if someone had made a safer choice, my daughter and grandchild may still be here today.”