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Holbrook Police Department Reminds Motorists to Stay Alert, Focus on Driving in Recognition of Distracted Driving Awareness Month

As part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Chief William Smith and the Holbrook Police Department want to remind residents to stay focused while operating a vehicle. 

April is designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness about the importance of attentive and engaged driving and the dangers distracted driving poses to everyone on the road, including other drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2022 an estimated 3,308 people were killed and an additional 289,310 people were injured in traffic crashes involving distracted drivers. In 2022, there were 621 nonoccupants (pedestrians, pedalcyclists, and others) killed in distraction-affected traffic crashes.

Massachusetts law prohibits operators of motor vehicles from using any electronic device, including mobile telephones, unless the device is used in hands-free mode. Drivers who are age 18 and over can only use electronic devices and mobile phones in hands-free mode and are only permitted to touch devices to activate hands-free mode. Drivers may use their phones if they are stationary and not in an active traffic lane, but not at red lights or stop signs. Drivers under 18 are prohibited entirely from using electronic devices while driving. 

Motorists are reminded that distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from driving. In addition to talking on the phone or texting, distracted driving can include adjusting the radio or GPS, applying makeup, eating or drinking. When behind the wheel, drivers should only focus on driving by keeping their eyes on the road, their hands on the wheel and their mind on driving. 

The NHTSA and National Safety Council (NSC) recommend the following safety tips to help prevent tragedies due to distracted driving:

  • Texting is the most alarming distraction. According to the NHTSA, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. If you are with other people, you can ask your passenger to be your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
  • Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving. 
  • Cell phone use is habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Activate your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature, silence notifications, or put your phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of your vehicle until you arrive at your destination.
  • Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Parents are encouraged to talk with their teens about responsible driving.
  • If your driver is texting or otherwise distracted, tell them to stop and focus on the road.
  • Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are your best defense against unsafe drivers.
  • Be alert for pedestrians and cyclists, especially those who may themselves be distracted.

For additional information or resources on distracted driving, visit the NHTSA website here or the NSC website here.