Georgia Dept. of Transportation started a statewide campaign urging drivers to keep their eyes on the roads. (Source: WALB)
Sgt. Dana Harnage (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and Georgia state officials are urging drivers to keep their attention on the road.
The Georgia Department of Transportation says most single vehicle collisions can be prevented by changing driver behavior.
It estimates almost 80 percent of traffic fatalities come as a result of drivers just not paying attention and engaging in activities like texting and driving. They spearheaded a statewide campaign called "DriveAlert ArriveAlive" to call attention to what they say is a growing problem in the state.
Georgia State Patrol troopers say distracted driving can be anything that takes your attention away from the road.
"It's literally anything that takes your attention away from the surroundings and the roadway," said Sgt. Dana Harnage with the GSP, referencing distracting activities like eating, messing with the radio, and putting on makeup.
When it comes to texting and driving, Sgt. Harnage says he's seen less of it on the roads, but not necessarily because drivers are putting their attention on the roads.
"I have seen people that have their cell phones up in front of their steering wheel and then at the last second when they see me, they drop their cell phone down," he said, "thinking they're getting away with it or putting it down or trying to make me think that they're not playing with their cell phones."
In 2014, more than 3,000 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving distracted driving. Sgt. Harnage says it's dangerous and advises drivers to just not do it.
"Literally it takes your attention away from the road," said Sgt. Harnage. "You're not watching what you're doing, people in front of you can stop while your attention is on something else in the car and when you look back up they're stopped in front of you and you don't have enough time to react."
In Georgia, driving distracted is against the law and drivers who violate a traffic violation because of it can be charged with distracted driving along with the original traffic violation.