April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.   According to the National Safety Council, at least nine Americans die each day in distracted driving crashes.

“People think I’m just going to check it.  But that quick second is all it takes to leave to roadway and hit somebody or get into a collision yourself,” said Troop A- Public Information Officer, Trooper James O’Callaghan. 

New York State Police, along with other agencies like AAA Western and Central New York and AT&T are spending the month of April spreading awareness to the dangers of distracted driving. 

“A lot of people think one little text won’t hurt,” said AAA WCNY Public Relations Director, Elizabeth Carey.  “But eventually it’s going to catch up to you.  That behavior is going to catch up with you.”

Virtual reality technology is used as a teaching tool for teen drivers. “For teenagers, distracted driving is the number one cause of driving fatalities,” said AT&T Regional Director, Kevin Hanna.

But police say multi-tasking adults are every bit as distracted as their kids, behind the wheel. 

“Not only with our younger drivers but all ages and all ranges. A lot of people are busy,” said Trooper O’Callaghan. “Smart phones have become a way of life. Social media has become a way of life but you really need to separate the two.”

AAA research shows you’re eight times as like to crash if you text and drive. “A lot of times on the thruway you’re thinking why is that car going so slow?” said Carey.  “And then you see them looking down at their phone. You really can’t multi task like that.”

And in addition to being dangerous, distracted driving can also be costly.

“Almost 500 dollars and 5 points,” said Trooper O’Callaghan.  “That’s a huge fine but it’s nothing compared to getting into a collision and hurting somebody else or killing somebody else due to distracted driving.”

State Police tell us they are on the lookout for distracted drivers all year round, but especially this month with added patrols out on the road.