April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office is reminding drivers to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office has made an effort to educate the public, including younger drivers, about the dangers of texting and driving. According to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent of driving blind at 55-mph for the length of an entire football field.
"Drivers of all ages must understand that texting and driving significantly increases your chances of becoming involved in a serious crash," said Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman. "The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office has made the issue of distracted driving a priority through traffic safety enforcement and educational campaigns in an effort to make our roadways safer," added Chapman.
In 2013, the agency launched the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office Community Traffic Safety Management Program in coordination with the Monroe Technology Center (MTC), as part of Loudoun County Public Schools. The program developed a campaign, to include the creation of posters depicting the dangers of texting while driving. The in-school public awareness campaign continues to warn students of the dangers of texting and driving.
Residents are reminded that it is unlawful for any person to operate a moving vehicle on the highways in Loudoun County and the Commonwealth while using a handheld personal communications device to text, or read email per Virginia State Code 46.2-1078.1.
The dangers of distracted driving go beyond texting and driving. According to the National Safety Council, more than 30 studies show the use of hands-free devices is not safer because you remain distracted from the task at hand, driving.
Drivers are encouraged to turn off their cellphones when they are behind the wheel.