Farmersburg, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,142 people in the US in 2020.
Law enforcement agencies across the country are stepping up patrols Thursday to curb distracted driving.
Distracted driving is considered any activity that diverts attention away from safely operating a vehicle. It can be visual, manual or cognitive and includes everything from eating to listening to loud music to more recent trends like “vlogging” or video blogging.
While all forms are considered dangerous, texting continues to be the most prevalent, especially among millennials and Gen Z. Research from NHTSA shows that young drivers, ages 16 to 24, have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007.
“There’s a time and a place for everything, and when you’re driving isn’t the right time to be recording a video or taking a selfie,” said Devon McDonald, Indiana Criminal Justice Institute Executive Director. “If your eyes are off the road, you’re putting yourself and others at risk. It’s like driving blindfolded.”
The one-day targeted enforcement campaign will be cracking down on texting behind the wheel and other forms of distracted driving.
Drivers who are caught violating Indiana’s hands-free law, which bans handheld phone use behind the wheel, could face a class c infraction and fines of up to $500. They could also have points added to their license.