(NBC News) Statistics indicate nine Americans will likely die today and another 100 will be injured because of distracted drivers.
Fortunately, safety advocates are working to change that.
DriveWell, A new app launched earlier this year, is aimed at helping drivers focus on just driving.
“The system automatically measures driving performance and then rates it against metrics that we have developed that are highly correlated with crashes,” says Hari Balakrishnan of Cambridge Mobile Telematics.
Balakrishnan developed the DriveWell app with backing from the insurance industry.
Safety advocates are grateful for advancements like the app, and for all the attention distracted driving is getting.
“We know that nine percent of all fatalities on the roadway are result of people just not paying attention, so we want people just to drive,” says Nick Smith, president of the National Safety Council.
“Just Drive” is the slogan the National Safety Council has adopted for its distracted driving awareness campaign this month.
“We just need people focused on the job at hand, which is looking straight ahead and putting their hands on the wheel and just driving,” Smith says.
He urges drivers to avoid the biggest culprits, texting or talking on cell phones, as well as anything to do with dashboard touchscreens. Smith even suggests curtailing conversation with others in the car.
“It’s anything that is taking people’s eyes off the road, or distracting them mentally,” he says.
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- Turn it off. Turn your phone off or switch to silent mode before you get in the car. Or better yet, put the phone away in a place it cannot be accessed while driving.
- Spread the word. Set up a special message to tell callers that you are driving and you’ll get back to them as soon as possible, or sign up for a service that offers this.
- Pull over. If you need to make a call, pull over to a safe area first.
- Use your passengers. Ask a passenger to communicate for you.
- X the text. Don’t ever text and drive, surf the web or read your email while driving. It is dangerous and against the law in most states.
- Know the law. Familiarize yourself with state and local laws before you get in the car.
- Prepare. Start your GPS or review maps and directions before you start to drive. If you need help when you are on the road, ask a passenger to help or pull over to a safe location to review the map and/or directions.
- Secure your pets. Pets can be a big distraction in the car. Always secure your pets properly before you start to drive.
- Keep the kids safe. Pull over to a safe location to address situations with your children in the car.
- Focus on the task at hand. Refrain from smoking, eating, drinking, reading and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.