April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Posted at 10:43 PM, Apr 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-01 23:02:17-04

KALAMAZOO -- Police are cracking down on distracted driving as part of a campaign to bring people's attention to what they are doing behind the wheel.

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety is only one of several law enforcement agencies taking part in the initiative this month.

Typically no one likes to see people on their phones while driving, especially police. During the month of April, especially, if they see one in your hands, expect to be pulled over.

"If you’re out driving and you look around you’ll see people on their phones. They’re texting, they’re video chatting. They are using apps playing games," Sergeant Charles Mason of the KDPS tells FOX 17. "The National Safety council estimates that about 94 percent of all crashes are caused by some type of driver error."

Drivers taking their eyes off the road has become more than a worry for law enforcement. The results of answering one text can be deadly. According to AAA, nearly 20, 000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver between 2012 and 2017 - 4,000 people per year on average.

And not all the victims of distracted driving accidents are the distracted one.

"You have to think about too not only the people in the vehicle, but the drivers around you. The people on the sidewalk. The people riding bicycles," says Mason.

Kalamazoo Public Safety Officials will be out in force, reminding drivers to keep their eyes up and their phones down, hoping the reminder will last longer than this month's awareness campaign.

Sergeant Mason has a simple answer. "Hold yourself and others accountable with your actions while you’re driving. Passengers who are riding in vehicles (should) hold the driver accountable."

Police do include eating and drinking, as well as tired driving to be distractions and ask people to pull over to sleep or finish what they wanted to do before hitting the road again.