April Named 'Distracted Driving' Month In Virginia | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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April Named 'Distracted Driving' Month In Virginia

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Driving while on a cell phone is known to significantly impair reaction times.
Stephanie Wallace: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wishymom/312406593/
Driving while on a cell phone is known to significantly impair reaction times.

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va.) has declared April Distracted Driving month. Many drivers say they simply can't cut their addiction to devices while driving.

One driver who wished to remain anonymous, pulled into a gas station talking on a hand-held cell phone while trying to maneuver to the pumps -- and shrugged it off.

"Because I'm calm, I'm just talking, you know," he says. "I think it is distracting when people have arguments and they get emotional on the phone. What would it take you to stop? Well, I'm talking to my employer so I have to communicate with my employer getting different kinds of jobs like that."

He could buy a hands free-device.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety finds that just using a cell phone increases the risk of a crash by four times. And there are many more kinds of driver distractions.

John Townsend, a spokesman for AAA Mid Atlantic, says the best way to get people to change their behavior is tougher enforcement.

"Research shows you have to have the penalties," he says. "You can have the best laws in the world, but if people don't fear a penalty they are not going to change their behavior."

As many as 85 percent of crashes, and 65 percent of near crashes happen within just 3 seconds of taking one's eyes off the road, according to AAA data.

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