(WTRF)– When you learn to drive, the number one rule is to keep both hands on the wheel but now many people are guilty of breaking that.
When you are behind the wheel, is your full attention on the road?
It can be easy to get distracted by a number of things.
A recent study shows that in 2020, 3,138 people died in distracted driving crashes in America.
April is National Distracted Awareness Month and local law enforcement are working to put an end to this dangerous habit.
According to the Wheeling Police Department, the West Virginia state code prohibits electronic communication devices.
That means you are looking down at a device that’s taking your attention off of the road. Texting, dialing a phone number, all of those things can distract you from the roadway, and that’s of course, when we have terrible crashes.Lt. Josh Sanders, Wheeling Police Department
Lt. Sanders say most likely their is a lot more crashes caused by distracted driving than they even have records of.
People obviously know it’s against the law and so they’re not going to come right out and tell an officer that they were on their phone.
It’s also somewhat difficult for us to prove exactly that you might have been on your phone during a crash that we weren’t there at, but yes, it is a very prevalent thing, and distracted driving is definitely one of those causation factors that leads to the 1200 plus crashes that we get a year here at the Wheeling PD.Lt. Josh Sanders, Wheeling Police Department
According to AAA, distractions go beyond the cell phone.
They can also include eating, changing music, adjusting the navigation, talking to passengers, and anything else that takes your attention away from driving.
Sargent Brain Hawkins with the Ohio State Highway Patrol says anything that takes your attention off the road could lead to serious consequences.
If you take your eyes off the road for about four seconds at 55 mile an hour, you’ve already traveled a length of a football field, so a lot can happen in 100-yard distance there.
So, Ohio did pass a bill here a few years ago reference distracted driving, so it is actually an additional fine you can be sited for $100. Ohio also offers an online course you could take if you are sited for this.Sargent Brian Hawkins, Ohio State Highway Patrol
He says they have several signs on the highway reminding people to stray away from distracted driving and encourage people to pull over if need be.
One decision to put lipstick or open that text message puts you and every other motorist’s life at risk.
Remember when driving keep your attention on the road and your head out of your phone.