ITASCA, Ill. – April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, an observance the National Safety Council brings to national attention by sharing safe driving resources and personal safety stories. NSC urges all people to be attentive behind the wheel and just drive during April — and throughout the year.
Preliminary estimates show more than 46,000 people died in preventable crashes on U.S. roads in 2021, a 9% increase over 2020. While causation is not yet detailed, reckless behaviors such as speeding, lack of seat belt use and distracted driving all continue to plague our roads. Mobile devices and in-vehicle systems are often the culprit in distracted driving incidents, while other distractions, such as interacting with passengers, eating, fatigue and stress, also contribute to these crashes.
“We can all share a story of witnessing distracted driving,” said Mark Chung, executive vice president of roadway practice at NSC. “Whether we are behind the wheel, a passenger, riding a bicycle or even walking, we see it every day. I urge us all to take responsibility to stop distracted driving. Every road user must put safety first for themselves and others by allowing each other to just drive.”
Each year, distracted driving kills more than 3,000 people, or about eight people each day. That’s eight parents, children, friends and co-workers, and we know this number is severely underreported. Yet, many people continue to drive distracted despite the known danger and threats it brings to U.S. roads. The consequences are deadly; Tom Goeltz, a longtime safety professional, knows that type of loss heartbreakingly well.
“In 2016, my daughter Megan and her unborn child were killed in a car crash by a distracted driver,” said Goeltz, who is a member of the NSC Survivor Advocate Network. “Our family has never been the same, and we have since dedicated our lives to advocating for stricter laws around distracted driving and educating people on the dangers of it. From the bottom of my heart, please take safety seriously and don’t drive distracted. If someone had made a safer choice, my daughter and grandchild might still be here today.”
Distracted driving takes the lives of people of all ages but particularly some of our youngest road users: teens. Car crashes are the leading cause of preventable death for teens, and NSC offers resources to help save younger, as well as older, lives on our roads:
If someone you know was killed or seriously injured in a distracted driving-related crash, please consider joining the NSC network of survivor advocates. Safety is personal, and NSC wants to help share your story to save lives.
About the National Safety Council The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate – and has been for over 100 years. As a mission-based organization, we work to eliminate the leading causes of preventable death and injury, focusing our efforts on the workplace, roadway and impairment. We create a culture of safety to not only keep people safer at work, but also beyond the workplace so they can live their fullest lives.