Distracted driving is a dangerous behavior that can lead to serious accidents and, unfortunately, even fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in the United States in 2020 alone. With the increase in smartphone usage, distracted driving has become a growing concern especially among the younger generation.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month and is a great time to reflect on the choices you make while operating a moving vehicle and raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. The goal of the annual observance is to encourage drivers to commit to safer driving practices. Throughout the month, various organizations will launch campaigns to educate drivers on the risk of distracted driving to help prevent future accidents from occurring.
The 3 Types of Distractions
There are three main types of distractions that can occur while driving: visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distractions occur when the driver takes their eyes off the road, manual distractions occur when the driver takes their hands off the wheel, and cognitive distractions occur when the driver takes their mind off driving.
One of the most common forms of distracted driving is texting while driving and young drivers are most likely to text while driving. Texting requires the driver to take their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel, and their mind off driving, making it one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving and a deadly combination of visual, manual, and cognitive distractions.
Other common distractions include talking on the phone, using GPS systems, eating or drinking, adjusting the radio, and talking to passengers. To prevent distracted driving, it is important to take steps to eliminate distractions before getting behind the wheel. Here are some tips to avoid distracted driving:
- Put your phone away. Keep your phone out of reach while driving or turn it off completely. We recommend storing it in the glove compartment or cup holder.
- Use a hands-free device. If you need to make a call, use a hands-free device or Bluetooth connection. As of January 2022, 24 states, plus the District of Columbia, have banned handheld devices and require drivers to use hands-free devices when behind the wheel. Among the hands-free states is Georgia, ParkMobile’s home state.
- Plan ahead. Set your GPS and adjust the radio before you start driving. You can also plan ahead with ParkMobile by reserving a parking space before leaving for your destination. The app provides step-by-step directions to the reserved space. We also recommend queueing up your playlist before leaving so the music is set and ready to roll.
- Don’t eat or drink while driving. Finish your meal, beverage, or snack before you get behind the wheel. Don’t even think about sneaking a fry from the drive-thru bag. You can wait until you get home.
- Pull over if necessary. If you need to make a call, send a text, adjust your GPS, or look for parking availability, pull over to a safe location before doing so. Within the ParkMobile app, users can view parking availability as they look for zone parking. Make sure to pull over at a safe location to view nearby parking spots and do not look while driving.
- Be mindful of passengers. Engage in conversation with your passengers when it is safe to do so, but don’t let them distract you from driving.
Where TASL Comes In:
Thanks to smartphone applications like This App Saves Lives (TASL), now drivers can earn rewards by staying off their phones while at the wheel. According to TASL, there are over 1.5 million accidents, 500,000 injuries, and 3,600 deaths on the road each year. The app’s goal is to help minimize the number of accidents caused by distracted driving by rewarding users for staying off their phones. By partnering with recognizable food, clothing, and fitness brands, such as Urban Outfitters, Shake Shack, Insomnia Cookies, Obe Fitness, Reebok, and Amazon, TASL provides an extra push to stop texting and driving.
Once the app is downloaded and your account has been set up, the TASL program is automatically enabled whenever you are driving. You can immediately start loading and calculating reward points each time you get behind the wheel. The phone must stay locked or kept on the TASL app to receive points, however, your phone can be used for hands-free calls, navigation, and music. You’ll earn points after each ride which can be redeemed in the TASL rewards portal. You can even compete with friends and family for prizes within the app.
According to TASL, one in every three fatal accidents involves a distracted driver between the age of 15-29. 57% of all car accidents involve a cell phone. Let’s create a safer environment for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians by staying off our phones while driving.
TASL recently launched a Parent Portal allowing parents the opportunity to monitor their children and reward them for staying off the phone while driving. Parents can set goals for their children and monitor them through the parent portal. Safe driving habits start as soon as your child gets behind the wheel, so TASL grants parents access to their children’s driving even if they aren’t physically in the car with them.
This National Distracted Drivers Awareness Month, TASL is partnering with ParkMobile to offer 40% off the Parent Portal with discount code PARKDDAM. Parents who register for the Parent Portal will receive a one-time 40% off discount on any membership plan. To join, see here. The code is valid through April 30, 2023.
Needless to say, distracted driving is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences and most of us likely know someone who has been affected by the issue. By eliminating distractions before getting behind the wheel, we can all do our part to make the roads safer for everyone. Remember, no text, call, or distraction is worth risking your life or the lives of others. Help make the roads a safer place at all hours of the day by making a commitment to keeping your eyes on the road.