New York State Police and local law enforcement agencies are teaming up to make roads safer for drivers by participating in the national campaign: “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” This campaign is designed to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, which according to the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee is the number one cause of motor vehicle accidents in the state.

It's important to know what authorities consider as distracted driving:

  • When a driver is engaged in any task not related to driving
  • When a driver is drowsy
  • When a driver is not paying attention to the road ahead
  • When a driver looks away from the road ahead.

Honestly, considering what is dubbed as distracted driving, unless your eyes are glued to the road ahead at all times and you never get tired behind the wheel, we are all distracted drivers on a regular basis! With that said, I would say that police probably tend to pull over the obvious infractions of distracted driving like using a cell phone (not hands-free) and texting while driving. The statistics are those two alone are significant. Those two activities done while driving have caused nationally according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in recent years, almost 80% of crashes and 65% of near crashes according to a study involved the driver looking away from the road in front of them just before crashing their vehicle. The NHTSA says that in 2019, 3142 lives were lost because of distracted drivers.

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Just remember that talking on a hand-held phone, texting, putting a cd in the cd player, applying makeup, and eating are things to avoid while driving since they increase your chances of crashing by two to three times.

Police are stepping up patrols during this enforcement initiative which runs from now through Monday. During the October 2020 distracted driving campaign, law enforcement throughout the state issued more than 30,000 vehicle and traffic law tickets with nearly 10% for distracted driving. April is national Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

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