During the month of April -- designated as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month -- the Livingston Police Department will participate in a federally-funded grant program to have extra patrols on duty as part of the nationwide "U Drive. U Text. U Pay" campaign to help keep distracted drivers off the road. Patrols will be cracking down on cell phone use by drivers.
The LPD reminds residents to do their part by putting the phone down while driving.
The Livingston Health Department has shared additional information about distracted driving, which includes anything that keeps drivers from focusing on the road, whether it is eating or sending a message. Distracted driving accounts for about 1,000 motor vehicle accidents each day that result in injuries in the United States.
Sending a text message while driving at 55 MPH is like driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed. Texting and driving is not the only distraction that can take your eyes off the road, though.
There are three types of driving distractions:
- Manual distractions cause you to take one or both of your hands off the wheel. Eating and searching for an item in a bag/purse are examples.
- Visual distractions cause you to look away from the road. These include putting on make-up, adjusting the directions on your GPS, and admiring the view of the mountains as you’re driving.
- Cognitive distractions cause you to not stay focused on driving. Daydreaming, feeling drowsy, and arguing with a passenger in the car are cognitive distractions.
Drivers can take the following actions to help keep them from getting distracted while driving:
- If you have a cell phone, keep your phone put away and don’t look at your phone while you are driving. If you need to use your phone, pull over to a safe place first.
- Adjust mirrors, the seat, and steering wheel, and anything else before you begin to drive.
- If there are other passengers in your car, have them change the stations on the radio, look up directions, etc. for you to limit distractions.
- Make sure you are prepared to drive by getting enough sleep, finishing your personal grooming at home, and eating before your trip. If you are going on a long trip, take time to stop to eat, and avoid eating while driving.
- If you need a GPS or navigation app to get somewhere, set it before you begin driving.
- If you are traveling with pets or children in the car and they need your attention, pull over to the side of the road instead of reaching behind you, which can take your eyes off the road.