(WHTM) — In 2021, Pennsylvania had 1,230 deadly car crashes. Sixty of them were caused by distracted drivers, according to PennDOT’s statistics–and officials say that’s 60 too many–so they’re working hard to get the word out during distracted driving awareness month.
“Distracted driving happens all year round, but we like to pick a month and this is national to focus on the real dangers especially because we see as the weather gets warmer more people are out more people are driving and maybe not paying attention,” PennDOT Spokesperson Fritzi Schreffler said.
Estimates indicate that over the last 20 years, more than 13,000 crashes in Pennsylvania can be blamed on distracted driving. PennDOT says one of its key messages is that distracted driving is not limited to just texting, especially as newer vehicles come with highly interactive touch-screen controls. Anything can be a distraction, even if it’s not in the car with you.
“Don’t be talking to everybody in the car, don’t be on the phone, don’t be texting, try not to pay attention to what going on outside, like billboards or what’s going on with other drivers. Pay attention to what going on in front of you,” said Schreffler.
And, PennDOT says, the first step has to happen before you hit the road.
“It’s important to take certain steps before you place your foot on the gas pedal to know that when you are driving, everything behind you and around you is set and safe and you can focus on the road,” said Schreffler.
This way, you don’t end up becoming part of the next batch of distracted driving crash statistics.