It takes one second to end your life or someone else’s when you take your eyes off the road.

Traffic studies showed, nationwide, distracted driving kills around nine people and injures 1,000 people every day. 

As National Distracted Driving Awareness Month begins, AAA Kansas is launching a new, multi-year initiative that aims to reduce deaths and injuries as a result of cell phone use by drivers.

The campaign is called “Don’t Drive Intoxicated – Don’t Drive Intexticated.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers interacting with their cell phone are two to eight times more likely to be involved in a crash.

The Kansas Department of Transportation reported six deaths and 269 injuries followed crashes in 2017 due to being on a cell phone.

“The whole point of getting behind the wheel is to get to your destination safely,” explained KDOT traffic safety manager Chris Bortz. “If you could eliminate distractions that’ll certainly be a huge plus, not only for you, but for everybody else.”

AAA Traffic Safety conducted a study in March, where 97-percent of Kansas drivers said texting while driving is a serious threat to their safety. However, 90-percent of those drivers admitted to texting or reading a text while driving.

“AAA Kansas is committed to changing attitudes and behaviors surrounding the deadly problem of distracted driving, and we will continue this effort for years to come,” said Shawn Steward, public and government affairs manager for AAA Kansas.

Traffic safety officials offered tips to prevent distracted driving:

  • Put it away. Place your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation.
  • Know where you’re going. If using a navigation system, program the destination before driving.
  • Pull over. If you have to call or text while on the road, pull off the road safely and stop first.
  • Ask passengers for help. If riding with someone, seek their help to navigate, make a call or send a message.
  • Be a good passenger. Speak out if the driver of your vehicle is distracted.
  • Don’t be a distraction. Avoid calling or texting others when you know they are driving.
  • Everyone should prevent being intexticated. Just as drivers need to pay attention, so do pedestrians and bicyclists. Never call, text or play games while walking or cycling.