April marks Distracted Driving Awareness month

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam proclaimed April as Distracted Driving Awareness month.

Sgt. Breeden said fatalities involving distracted driving are especially disappointing because they are so preventable.

The recognition comes after an 11% increase in total roadway deaths in Virginia from 2016 to 2017.

"The month of April is our opportunity as a Commonwealth to recommit ourselves to making sure that every one who uses our roads gets where they’re going safely," said Governor Northam. "We can all work to decrease deaths on our roadways by making conscious decisions to obey traffic laws and being mindful of the consequences of dangerous decisions. The only acceptable number of highway deaths is zero.”

The top three reasons for distracted driving are eyes not kept on the road, looking at a roadside incident, and using a cell phone, according to DRIVE SMART Virginia. There were 208 deaths involving distracted driving last year in Virginia, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Sgt. Brian Breeden, with the Virginia State Police, said he often reminds his kids to avoid distractions.

"I preach that to them, constantly," Sgt. Breeden said. "And I'm sure they get tired of hearing about it. But that's constantly reinforced to them."

Sgt. Breeden said there have been a number of wrecks in Rockingham County caused by distracted driving.

As motorists and pedestrians, we need to be mindful and respectful of each other by sharing the road,” said Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran. “These are tragedies that are completely preventable. During the first week in April, through radio, television, social media, and scheduled programs, we will focus attention on road users that state data indicates are particularly vulnerable – pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.”