This April, the Ocean City Police Department is joining law enforcement agencies across the country to acknowledge a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways, distracted driving. Nearly 5,500 people were killed and 450,000 more were injured in distracted driving crashes in 2009 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
“Distracted driving is any non-driving activity a person engages in while operating a motor vehicle,” said Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino. “They can be in the form of electronic distractions, such as navigation systems and cell phones, or they can be more conventional distractions, such as putting on make-up, eating or playing with the car radio.”
According to NHTSA, 16 percent of fatal crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving; in which the greatest proportion of distracted drivers was the under-20 age group. Of those people killed in distracted-driving-related crashes, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a distraction.
The Ocean City Police Department is joining NHTSA to encourage people to “Put It Down.” When drivers engage in distracted driving behaviors, they are not only a danger to themselves, but to everyone else on the road around them.
“We all have a stake in this problem and we are all part of the solution,” Chief DiPino continued. “The Ocean City Police Department is determined to focus our attention on distracted drivers. If we encourage people to focus their attention on driving we can empower them to be a good example for our children, our peers and our community.”