When you are behind the wheel of a vehicle, one second can mean the difference between life and death.

No one knows this better than Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson, whose 21 year old daughter Casey Feldman, was killed by a distracted driver in 2009. In response, the couple launched EndDD.org to fight the epidemic of distracted driving.

According to EndDD, distractions can be visual (taking eyes off the road), manual (taking hands off the road), or cognitive (taking mind off the road). Texting and talking on the phone are both mental and physical distractions – and cell phone use is attributed to 18 percent of distraction related fatalities. Other distraction related fatalities can be attributed to simple tasks such as applying on lipstick, reaching over to grab a drink, changing the music, reading a roadmap or eating on the go, among others.

To raise awareness of this growing problem, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has designated April as National Distracted Driving Month. U Drive. U Text. U Pay. Campaign

In an effort to elevate awareness of distracted driving, NHTA has launched a $5 million national television, radio and digital advertising campaign, which runs  through April 15, and reminds the public of the deadly consequences of distracted driving, as well as the financial penalties for violating state distracted driving laws.

Based on fatal accident reports, NHTSA data shows that at least 3,154 people were killed in crashes involving  distracted drivers in 2013, including those who were texting and driving. NHTSA estimates that 424,000 Americans were injured in all distraction-affected crashes that same year.

Distracted driving is especially prevelant amongst the youngest and most inexperienced drivers. According to the NHTA, the age group of 15 to 19 has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crash. Teen Distracted Driver Data

In fact, the most comprehensive research ever conducted into crash videos of teen drivers has found significant evidence that distracted driving is likely a much more serious problem amongst this age group than previously known, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The video analysis finds that distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes, which is four times as many as official estimates based on police reports. AAA NewsRoom – Distraction and Teen Crashes

To help prevent distracted driving, motorists are urged to:

  • Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
  • Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
  • Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving.
  • Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are the best defense against other unsafe drivers.
  To learn more about distracted driving, visit //www.distraction.gov/
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