ATA asks drivers to aim for alertness

April is National Distracted Driving Month, but hopefully readers won’t be finding that out on the road.

The American Trucking Association (ATA) said Monday that it is exhorting motorists to put aside their cellphones and focus on driving safety.

"Each year, thousands of people are killed in crashes related to distractions," ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. "We urge motorists to put down their phones and keep their eyes and minds on the road."

In 2013, approximately 3,100 individuals were killed and 424,000 were injured in distraction-related incidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. While these statistics are an improvement over the previous year, officials are imploring greater awareness.

ATA created America's Road Team to disseminate information on the dangers of driver distractions — not only from cellphones, but also via other electronic devices, such as GPS systems, as well as conventional sources of disturbances such as talking with passengers or eating behind the wheel.

"Highway safety is everyone's responsibility," America's Road Team Captain Henry Bruster said. Bruster works for UPS Freight in Woodville, Mississippi. "If we all devote more attention to the task of driving and less to our phones, it goes a long way to making sure everyone finishes their trip safely."

Offering sobering statistics and practical guidelines, America's Road Team is a consortium representing the nation’s more than 3.1 million professional truck drivers. It runs a national public outreach program since 1986 featuring an expert group with strong driving skills, safety records and an avid desire to spread the word about highway safety.

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American Trucking Association

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