June 4th, 2003

National Safety Month Begins With Distracted Driving

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Everyone has seen it happen: it’s the middle of the day, the car just in front sways back and forth across the line even though the driver is fully coherent. Just so happens that he or she is talking on a cell phone, changing a CD or involved in a passenger conversation and, while seemingly innocent, any one of these may be enough of a distraction to cause an accident.

Driver distraction, says the National Safety Council (NSC), is a key contributor to accidents, and is estimated to be the root cause of between 20 and 30 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States each year. During the week of June 1 through 7, the first week of National Safety Month in the U.S., the NSC is hoping to make drivers more aware of their potentially unsafe behaviors on the road through education and safety measures “that will help Americans avoid traffic accidents caused by driver inattention, cell phone use, drowsy driving, and other distractions.”

A 2001 study by researchers at the University of Utah concluded that cell phone usage

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