In a program with General Motors, the Governors Highway Safety Association is awarding grants in Washington state and Washington, D.C. to prevent distracted driving.

The nonprofit association, in announcing the grants, cited numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission that put traffic deaths caused by distracted driving at 3,522 in 2021. That’s up 12% year-over-year. It said another 362,415 were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers.

The group says real numbers are likely higher due to “chronic underreporting.”

It said nearly a fifth of the 2021 deaths were people outside the vehicles.

The grant money will go toward programs that raise awareness about the issue. In Washington state, a prevention program will be created in the second-most populous county, Pierce County. In Washington, D.C., the grant will go toward neighborhood awareness campaigns, a middle-school education program, and a study on whether to expand an automated traffic-enforcement program that detects distracted drivers.

“Distraction is a ‘dirty little secret’ that few drivers want to talk about. Distracted drivers kill people every day, yet surveys show most drivers think others are the problem, not themselves,” said association CEO Jonathan Adkins in a press release. “We need creative solutions and new ways of thinking to meaningfully shift public opinion on this deadly behavior.”


Originally posted on Auto Dealer Today

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