April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Can you define Distracted Driving?

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KENNER — The National Safety Council reports that distracted driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.

“The crashes that they see out there on the highways and the interstates, every single one of those crashes is absolutely preventable,” says Trooper Melissa Matey with the Louisiana State Police.

The numbers are staggering and to lessen our chances of becoming a statistic, it’s important we understand what constitutes distracted driving in the first place.

“Distracted driving covers a while host of different things and a lot of people think that it is just cell phones and navigation devices which it’s not. A distraction in the vehicle can be just a simple conversation that you’re having with your passenger or anything that takes your mind off the road,” says Matey.

And there are three types of driving distractions. Manual, visual and cognitive, all of which lead up to the ultimate distraction: inattentive blindness.

“Inattentive blindness is a term that we’re beginning to use because anything that you do, you might be looking at the road, but you don’t actually see what is happening in front of you,” says Matey.

Driving demands our utmost attention at all times and unfortunately, the more experienced and comfortable we become behind the wheel, the more likely we are to get into an accident.

“People tend to rely on their experience behind the wheel, which is great and it’s good that they’re experienced behind the wheel, but they need to rely on that experience without the distractions,” says Matey.

In this fast-paced world we live in driving distraction free can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. That’s why we’re asking you to pledge to be an attentive driver. You may end up saving a life, even your own.

“Make that pledge, don’t text and drive, avoid all distractions behind the wheel and remain attentive at all times so you can avoid those crashes. We want to save lives we don’t want to have serious injury and fatals,” says Matey.

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