Commissioner Causey urges motorists to put their phones down behind the wheel during Distracted Driving Awareness Month

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey is calling on motorists to focus solely on the road and do all they can to help prevent accidents during Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which runs throughout April across the United States.

“Driving any vehicle requires serious concentration, whether you’re a novice or highly experienced on the road,” Commissioner Causey said. “Sending or reading a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that’s akin to driving the length of an entire football field — blindfolded.”

Distracted driving can cause a driver to veer off the road or hit another car, resulting in property damage, personal injury and loss of life. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving killed 3,308 people in 2022, while 289,310 were injured. Commissioner Causey joins the NHTSA, other insurance commissioners and safety advocates across the nation in raising the awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. 

“I’m asking every driver to focus on the road and not let any distractions keep them from safely getting to their destinations,” Commissioner Causey added.

In addition, distracted driving can put upward pressure on insurance companies to increase automobile insurance rates due to the number of claims filed because of increased accidents. 

There are many forms of distracted driving – talking or texting on a cell phone, drinking coffee, putting on makeup, changing the radio station or tending to a child in the car. By driving while distracted, motorists are robbed of the concentration needed to avoid a crash and put passengers and other drivers at a higher risk.

Commissioner Causey offers North Carolina motorists the following tips to help drivers avoid the pitfalls of distracted driving:

  • If you feel you really need to send a text or email, pull off the road and safely park before sending any message.
  • You can select a passenger as a “designated texter” to send and receive texts for you. It is important to do this even while stopped at a light as situations on the road can change rapidly. 
  • Set your navigation systems or radio stations before you start driving.
  • Don’t scroll through apps, websites or social media while driving. If you feel tempted, you can turn your phone off, set it to airplane mode, or put it in the glove box, back seat or trunk.
  • Ask someone in the car to tend to the needs of children if necessary.

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.