April 2021: Distracted Driving Awareness Month

WHEREAS, distracted driving is a pervasive problem, both in Michigan and throughout the United States; and,

 

WHEREAS, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each day in the United States, approximately nine people are killed, and more than 1,000 are injured in crashes that reportedly involve a distracted driver; and, 

 

WHEREAS, Michigan roads experience an alarming number of both crashes and fatalities related to distracted driving; and,

 

WHEREAS, according to the Michigan State Police, distracted driving resulted in 18,096 vehicle crashes in Michigan during 2019 and caused 70 fatalities; and,

 

WHEREAS, Michigan laws define distracted driving as a motorist failing to focus on the operation of a motor vehicle due to being engaged in some other activites, such as using a handheld device, and categorizes driving distractions into three categories:

 

  • Visual: any action in which a driver's vision is pulled away from the operation of a vehicle, such as texting, changing a radio station, or looking for a lost object
  • Manual: any action that causes a driver to take his or her hands off the steering wheel, such as eating food or putting make up
  • Cognitive: any action that occupies the driver's mind and shift his or her focus elsewhere, including carrying a conversation with a passenger; and,

 

WHEREAS, cell phone use while driving is a persistent issue that causes a significant number of auto accidents. Michigan law prohibits texting while driving for drivers of all ages and skill levels, and, under Kelsey's Law, teen drivers with a Level 1 or Level 2 Graduated Driver License are prohibited from initiating, answering, or listening to a call; and,

 

WHEREAS, the responsibility of reducing injuries and fatalities caused by distracted driving falls on every driver, and we should all do our part to promote distracted driving awareness, participate in various statewide safe driving initiatives, and follow Michigan law on distracted driving;

 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim April 2021 as Distracted Driving Awareness Month in Michigan.