HARVEY, La. (WGNO) — April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and local law enforcement and other organizations are reminding drivers to pay attention to the road.
According to the New Orleans Coroners’ Office, there have been 348 vehicle-related deaths from 2015 to the present.
As for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, they could not provide the number of deaths related to traffic incidents, but JPSO Sheriff Joseph Lopinto said he believes there is a way to decrease the number of vehicle-related deaths across the city.
Sheriff Lopinto said, “No one thinks they are leaving their house in the morning thinking they are going to be involved in an accident.”
He added that there are enough distractions in the world and he encourages drivers to limit them.
“We have enough of it on our world whether its the radio, kids, the phones, or anything else there is enough distraction going on that we can limit the cell phone by turning on the different apps that allow us to send text messages automatically.”
Lopinto said children 16-24 are twice as likely to be in accidents involving distracted driving.
Drivers like local resident Zion Marable said he always tries his best to not get distracted and that he keeps his head on a swivel when he drives in the city.
“Especially here in New Orleans when drivers are not distracted they are rough,” said Marable.
Sheriff Lopinto said if police from JPSO witness a distracted driver, be prepared to get fined.
He reminds drivers of their responsibility to keep themselves and others safe on the road to prevent any fatality than can result from distracted driving.
According to the United States Department of Transportation, in 2020 3,142 people were killed in crashes that involved distracted driving.
Here are some tips to prevent distracted driving provided by Louisiana State Police:
•Stay focused on the task of driving
•Avoid cell phone use – place the phone on silent and in an area of the vehicle that is not easily accessible to avoid the temptation to use.
•Pull to a safe location before reaching for items that fell.
•Limit the number of passengers in the vehicle.
•Review the driving route prior to getting on the road.
•Finish your grooming at home, not while driving.
•Never drive drowsy
•Avoid loose animals in-vehicle, especially on the lap of the driver.