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Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus, District Attorney David Hoovler and Sheriff Paul Arteta, along with the Orange County STOP-DWI Program, are reminding residents that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Distracted driving is performing any activity that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, or adjusting the radio, entertainment, or navigation system. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,142 people were killed in 2020 in distracted driving crashes.
“We use and rely on our cell phones each day, but no call or text is that important,” Neuhaus said. “Distracted drivers are a serious threat to themselves, other motorists, and pedestrians. We want all our residents and visitors to arrive at their destination safely and we urge them to put down their devices and stay focused on the road.”
The NHTSA noted that during daylight hours, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. That creates a potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for approximately five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that is equivalent to driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.
“Distracted Driving continues to be a leading factor in motor vehicle crashes,” Arteta said. “Any distraction behind the wheel increases your risk of crashing and adults should lead by example by never driving distracted. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office will continue to work toward making Orange County’s roads safer and hold distracted drivers accountable.”
The NHTSA advised to follow these safety tips while driving:
Arteta and Hoovler noted that drivers can be ticketed for writing, sending, or reading a text or electronic message while driving. Hoovler said that there is a minimum $50 fine for texting or cell phone use while driving, which goes up to as much as $450 for a third or subsequent offense committed within eighteen months. In addition, every violation carries five points against your driver’s license, out of a possible eleven points that you can get within 18 months before you lose your license.
“No text or phone call is worth your life, or anyone else’s,” Hoovler added. “Distracted driving is dangerous, so do not text or call while you are driving. Let your calls and texts wait until you get to your destination or find a safe place to stop to call or text, or to respond to someone else.”
For more information about distracted driving, go to: www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving.