April has been declared National Distracted Driving Awareness Month to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while texting, eating and other behavior that claimed 3,328 lives nationwide in 2012.
The Michigan State Police is among law enforcement agencies working to reduce distracted driving related crashes and raise awareness about the dangers distracted driving creates.
The efforts are part of a campaign created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to curb distracted driving behaviors nationwide.
Throughout the month, officers will be focusing on crash-causing violations that may be caused by distracted driving, including; aggressive driving, marked lanes violations, following too closely and driving left of center, as well as enforcing laws prohibiting texting while driving.
National advertising by NHTSA that will be seen throughout the country will also promote their, “U Drive. U Text. U Pay,” awareness program.
AT&T Michigan said surveys conducted as part of its “It Can Wait” campaign to discourage the dangerous practice of texting while driving, have found:
- Ninety-seven percent of teens surveyed say texting while driving is dangerous – but 75 percent say it’s “common among their friends.”
- Seventy-six percent of consumers feel that texting-while-driving is a major problem facing the country today.
- Adults tell kids not to text while driving, yet according to 77 percent of teens, adults do it “all the time.”
- More than 4 million pledges – and counting – have been made never to text and drive as a result of AT&T's It Can Wait campaign.
Mobile phone service providers Sprint, T-Mobile US, Inc., Verizon and more than 1,500 other organizations have joined the It Can Wait movement.
Eighty-nine percent of teens say a phone app to prevent texting and driving would help them and their friends stop doing it.
AT&T has launched the AT&T DriveMode mobile app that can automatically send a customizable reply to incoming messages when the vehicle starts moving 25 miles per hour.
The auto-reply message is similar to an “out-of-office alert.” It can reply to texts, emails and calls explaining the intended recipient is driving and can’t respond.
When the vehicle slows to less than 25 miles per hour for five minutes, the app turns off and the user can view the calls.DriveMode is free and available for AT&T Android and BlackBerry users now. AT&T is looking into making it available on other operating systems and devices.