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Distracted Driving Awareness Month


We all know that India is a heavily populated country, but have you ever thought about how many vehicles are on the roads travelling daily for personal and commercial use? According to Statista, an estimated value of 326.3 million cars were operating in FY 2020, and the graph has always been on the rise since 2002. Another report of CEIC data revealed that around 200 million registered two-wheeler motorcycles were on the road in 2020. With approximately more than 500 million vehicles on the road, which keeps on rising with time, the importance of spreading awareness is the need of the hour.

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

In 2022 alone, 169 thousand people lost their lives due to a road accident. The Economic Times, a renowned media channel, wrote a piece on the same stating that 19 people died every hour in India due to a car accident. Every hour 53 accidents were happening on the roads due to careless driving. 66.5% of these people belonged to the age group of 18-45 years old which does reflect that there is a lack of awareness and responsibility among the youth of our country. 

April is recognized as Distracted Driving Awareness Month across the globe. It is an opportunity for the people and Governments to highlight the importance of driving responsibly. Since India is a highly populated country, it is more crucial for us to ensure that proper rules are implemented and followed. While there are many factors leading to accidents, distracted driving has come out to be a major reason leading to accidents due to more use of smartphones and other electronic devices by drivers. 

What is Distracted Driving?

Driving is not an activity which can be included in multi-tasking. It requires complete attention and focus. Any activity that draws your attention while driving will lead to distracted driving. In this article, we have categorised these distractions to make it easier to understand and identify the distractions.

  1. Visual Distractions: Looking at the phone, using the buttons on the radio set, reading a map, or anything that takes away the driver's eyes off the road will be called visual distraction.  
  2. Manual Distraction: Anything that requires the driver to take their hands off the steering wheel or handles, such as eating, drinking, or using a handy device.
  3. Cognitive Distractions: Things that draw the focus of the driver from driving are cognitive distractions. This includes intense conversations, being overwhelmed with emotions, or a deep-thinking state of mind. 

Distractions in any form can be risky, but the combination of visual, manual, and cognitive distractions is the most harmful as it increases the likelihood of a serious mishap.

Common Distractions on Indian Roads

In India, some of the most occurring distractions contributing to road accidents are:

  1. Mobile Phone Usage: Talking, texting, or using social media on a mobile phone while driving is the leading cause of distracted driving accidents in India.
  2. Eating and Drinking: Eating or drinking anything while driving creates a distraction. One second is enough for something to distract you and it is enough to cause misery. 
  3. Adjusting Vehicle Controls: Using the multimedia screen panel of the car, adjusting the radio also draws your attention from the road.
  4. Passengers and Pets: Talking with people sitting next to you, and looking over children or pets can cause a huge disturbance while driving.
  5. Personal Grooming: Applying makeup, creams, or combing hair while you are driving is dangerous and is also a distraction.
  6. External Distractions: Boards, advertisements, or any situation on the road that catches your attention even for one moment can lead to a risky scenario and hence these things are also distractions.

The Deadly Consequences of Distracted Driving

The consequences of distracted driving can be huge and it is not a risk that someone should take as it can change your life forever. It takes just one second to put you in a vulnerable scenario which can result in devastating accidents causing injuries, and fatalities, and can leave emotional and physical scars for life. 

Some of the most painful injuries that accidents can cause are brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and permanent disabilities. These injuries don't just impact the victim physically but it can take years if they can get healed giving mental trauma and stress throughout. It is very important to consider that the trauma does not only affect the victims but is a painful experience for the families and loved ones as well. 

Apart from the physical injuries, the legal and financial impacts it can lead to are significant as well. If caught guilty in the accident, you are likely to get your driving licence suspended, fined a heavy amount, or can be charged with criminal charges. These factors make the situation worse for the victims.

Raising Awareness and Promoting Responsibility

April is an opportunity to spread awareness, but this opportunity should be utilised to ensure that the issue is addressed as much as possible throughout the year. Awareness must be raised through awareness campaigns, schools, universities, and government institutions.

Schools, universities, govt, and private organisations should hold awareness events targeting the youth so they remain aware of the responsibilities of driving. Social media is a major influencer these days which can give this issue the attention it requires. Campaigns can use videos or short films that can run on social media and television covering a huge audience. 

Corporate initiatives will help to cover a much older age group which is not covered through social media campaigning. Businesses and companies can hold distracted driving awareness workshops or seminars that will promote safe and responsible driving. 

On top of this strict laws should be implemented and try to combine with technology to create a mobile based system that restricts the user from accessing some features that are highly distracting like texting apps while driving a car. 

Embracing a Cultural Shift

At last, it all depends on us. It is us who need to change for good before educating others. Change begins from us and then it reflects onto others. Once we display through our actions the importance of driving responsibly, it is then taken as inspiration from our friends, family, and colleagues. As a society, we need to change the culture and reject normalising the use of cell phones to chat or talk while driving. It demands the utmost attention and sincerity from our end. A collective approach will bring a fast-paced change in society rather than waiting for the government to do something. 

Parents, teachers, and role models should lead by being an example of a responsible driver. Schools and organisations should realise the need to adopt a responsibility of creating awareness among their students and employees respectively. Our collective approach will bring down the statistics of accidents and fatalities caused on the road and will hopefully make the roads much safer to drive. 

Distracted Driving Awareness Month is just a reminder of the responsibilities we must adhere to throughout the year. With the support of each other creating a unified resistance against distracted driving, let's all pledge to adhere to drive without any distractions and ensure to follow all rules with sincerity and discipline which will save many lives and raise the standards of our country.


This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.
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