Distracted driving was down in the pandemic but expected to increase now

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – April is distracted driving month and AAA Georgia is reminding drivers that they should be keeping their eyes on the road.

Garrett Townsend from AAA says a matter of seconds can mean life or death.

“Two seconds with your off the roadway doubles the risk you could have an accident,” said Townsend. “Five seconds is similar to traveling the length of a football field blindfolded.”

In 2020, the number of accidents involving distracted drivers decline, but only because the pandemic resulted in fewer drivers on the roads.

“But still, as a percentage of the people that were on the road, we’re still seeing that distracted driving is a big issue and in many cases ends up with either severe injuries or fatalities,” said Townsend.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 22 percent of accidents are now caused by distracted drivers. In 2019, nine traffic deaths every day were the result of accidents caused by distracted drivers.

Townsend says as the summer driving season approaches, more people will be vaccinated and out on the roads, either for just daily trips or summer vacations. He says the summertime can be an especially dangerous time for young drivers.

“Teenagers are three times more likely to be involved in a crash ending up in a fatality.”

Townsend says while teen drivers are more likely to be distracted with a cell phone or texting while driving, that drivers of all age are being affected. He says teenagers need to see an example from their parents to not text and drive or talk on the cell phone while driving.

AAA Georgia is asking drivers to take a pledge to not drive distracted.

“And that you’re going to focus on the road so that you and your family can get to your destination safely,” says Townsend.

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