Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response • Have you downloaded COVIDWISE, Virginia's COVID-19 exposure notification app? Add your phone to the fight here. For up-to-date information, assistance, and resources from across state government, click here.
WHEREAS, distracted driving is an epidemic on our roadways, claiming thousands of lives and injuring hundreds of thousands individuals each year in the United States; and
WHEREAS, there were 855 traffic fatalities in Virginia in 2020, higher than the three previous years; and
WHEREAS, the number of traffic fatalities on Virginia roadways has increased over 18% over the last five years; and
WHEREAS, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone”; and
WHEREAS, the Governors Highway Safety Association says that phone use – particularly calling and texting – while driving is one of the most common driver distractions; and
WHEREAS, it is now illegal to operate a moving motor vehicle on the highways of the Commonwealth of Virginia while holding a handheld communication device; and
WHEREAS, informing all road users that it is illegal to hold a handheld communication device while operating a moving motor vehicle on Virginia highways is essential to reducing distraction-related fatalities and injuries; and
WHEREAS, the Hands-Free Virginia Advisory Council and the Virginia Partners for Safe Driving were formed to help raise awareness of the dangers of distracted driving; and
WHEREAS, House Joint Resolution No. 727 was passed in 2013 by the Virginia General Assembly and designates April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month in Virginia; and
WHEREAS, DRIVE SMART Virginia created an education campaign called “Phone Down, It’s the Law” to inform the public about the new law; and
WHEREAS, increased awareness about the dangers of distracted driving may reduce traffic fatalities and injuries in the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, a month dedicated to programs and activities focused on reducing distracted driving will greatly raise awareness;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize April 2021 as DISTRACTED DRIVING AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.