The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has declared April "National Distracted Driving Awareness Month," and has offered grants to local law enforcement agencies across the country, including the Evansville Police Department and Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office, to help cover the cost of increased patrols as officers search for drivers focused more on their mobile devices than they are on the road and their surroundings.

Despite the inherent danger that comes with distracted driving, we all do it, myself included. It's easy to do. You're driving down the road with your phone in your pocket, it rings, vibrates, whatever, and almost instantly your mind has this need to check it immediately. Ideally you'd pull over into a parking lot and then check it, but why go through that trouble? You just need to take a quick peek, right? Surely you can pull that off while also doing 60 miles per hour on the Lloyd in heavy traffic.

But it's rarely ever a quick peek. Once you see the message, there's that desire to reply. Even if it's a simple, "OK," your mind is wired to complete the task. Someone asked you a question, or gave you a heads up on something, and you need to acknowledge that you received the message, regardless of the fact that you're moving a 1,000 pound hunk of metal on wheels within mere feet of other people doing the exact same thing.

The problem, outside of the potential for causing a serious, or even life-threatening accident, is that once you pull it off a few times without issue, it tricks your mind into thinking it's OK to do all the time, even though there's another part of the brain telling you it's not.

That's exactly what local EPD and VCSO officers will be on the lookout for. Those of us who think we can steal a quick glance at our phone when we should have our eyes on the road.

According to the NHTSA, 1,180 people are injured in accidents involving a distracted driver each day! Keep that in mind when you decide to take that quick peek at your phone after it goes off while you're driving. But don't worry, if the temptation is just too great, and you can't help but check that message, there will likely be an officer nearby to kindly remind you to take your eyes off your phone and keep them on the road.

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