Orange County reminds residents to avoid being a distracted driver

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GOSHEN – April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and Orange County officials are reminding residents to pay attention when driving.

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, 3,142 people were killed in 2019 in distracted driving crashes, a 10 percent increase from 2018.

“We use and rely on our cell phones each day, but no call or text is that important,” County Executive Steven Neuhaus said. “Distracted drivers are a serious threat to themselves, other motorists and pedestrians. We want all our residents and visitors to arrive to their destination safely and we urge them to put down their devices and stay focused on the road.” 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 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.

“If you need to make a call or answer a text, pull over to a safe place on the side of the road or turn into a parking lot,” said Sheriff Carl DuBois said. “Any distraction behind the wheel increases your risk of crashing and adults should lead by example by never driving distracted. Be safe on the roads, and let those communications wait.”

“No text or phone call is worth your life, or anyone else’s,” said District Attorney Davide Hoovler. “Distracted driving is dangerous, so don’t text or call while you’re 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.