Put Down Your Phone For National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and this year, the National Safety Council has chosen the theme, "What were you thinking?" The main point of this year's campaign is to clear up the mystery surrounding hands-free devices and distracted driving.

Many different behaviors cause distraction behind the wheel, from adjusting the radio and talking with passengers to using navigation systems and answering a call. Hands-free options like Bluetooth have allowed drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, but engaging in conversation still detracts a driver's attention from the task of safely operating their vehicle.

"Many drivers have a false sense of security that hands-free devices make cellphone use while driving safe," Janet Froetscher, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, said in a press release. "More than 30 research studies show hands-free devices provide no safety benefit as the distraction to the brain remains. We hope people will take time this April to help spread this important message so needless tragedies can be prevented."

Going hands-free may seem like a safe alternative to holding a phone up to your ear, but the reality is that anything you're doing in addition to driving can be distracting enough to dramatically increase your risk of crashing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's distracted driving awareness website, Distraction.gov, reports that about 18 percent of all accidents in 2010 were reported to have been caused by distracted driving.

Drivers should take this information to heart and save their conversations for when they're off the road. They should also bring the issue up with friends and family to help spread awareness.

In addition to adopting safe driving behaviors, motorists should have reliable vehicles. Those in the market for used cars can head to NJ State Auto Auction to check out the wide selection of used makes and models. Every vehicle on the lot is CARFAX certified.