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Distracted Driving Awareness

One Text or Call Could Wreck It All

A message from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

In recognition of April's designation as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Mission Viejo Police Services encourages residents to always practice safe driving habits. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2015 alone, 3,477 people were killed and more than 390,000 injured in accidents involving distracted drivers. Even more distressing, teens were the largest age group reported as distracted during fatal collisions. 

Distracted driving is anything that takes attention away from driving, including eating, applying makeup or grooming, making phone calls, texting, taking pictures and/or videos, posting on social media, sending emails and fidgeting with the radio, entertainment system or GPS device. Texting is the most alarming distraction. On average, drivers take their eyes off the road for five seconds while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded!   

"Hands-free is not risk-free," says the National Safety Council, and many drivers mistakenly believe hands-free devices are safer than handheld devices. However, the brain is still distracted during conversations, which doesn't make hands-free devices any safer than handheld. In fact, when it comes to voice-to-text capabilities, studies show using voice to text is more distracting than texting by hand.

You play a vital role in helping to stop distracted driving. Teens should speak up when they see a friend or family member driving while distracted. They can also remind loved ones on social media not to drive distracted. Parents must lead by example and not drive distracted. Also, it is important for parents to talk to their young drivers about the responsibilities of driving and possible consequences of distracted driving. Everyone in the family can make a pledge to never drive distracted and hold each other accountable. 

Although multitasking on the road may be convenient for drivers, it is not safe"”and distracted driving claims thousands of lives each year. So, remember this motto: "U Drive. U Text. U Pay."

For more information visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving

May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

In recognition of May as National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, Mission Viejo Police Services is reminding drivers and riders alike to be alert and aware of their surroundings and practice safety while on the road.

According to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 5,000 motorcyclists were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2015 "” an 8 percent increase from the previous year. During that same year, about 88,000 motorcyclists were injured.

Drivers can help reduce motorcycle-related injuries and deaths by making it a habit to "share the road" and pay attention. Eliminate distracted driving by not using electronic devices. Check blind spots often, especially when preparing to make a turn or lane change; remember to look twice. When driving near a motorcycle, leave space for the rider to maneuver - that person may have to swerve abruptly depending on other vehicles, road conditions or because of certain objects on the road that pose danger. When driving behind a motorcycle, make sure to leave enough space in case a sudden stop becomes necessary.

Motorcycle safety is a two-way street. Riders must also obey all traffic laws and commit to learning new skills by continuing safety education courses. It is imperative to wear a helmet that meets the Department of Transportation's safety standards and is required by law. In addition, wear the proper safety gear and choose a bike that best fits you.  While on the road, watch out for hazards like potholes and debris and position yourself so you are seen by other motorists as much as possible. At intersections, where half of all collisions occur, drive defensively. Remember to be courteous and avoid weaving in and out of lanes or riding in areas that are off limits.

All motorists are responsible for being alcohol and drug-free when operating any vehicle.