Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

April 25, 2018
Contact: John Lyon, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                 Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


NEW CITY, NY - - Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert remind residents that April is Distracted Driving Month. Distracted driving is doing any activity that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, or fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system. If you need to make a call or answer a text, pull over to a safe place on the side of the road or turn into a parking lot.

Texting is the most alarming distraction, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

NHTSA reports that nationwide in 2015, 3,477 people were killed, and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. During daylight hours, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving. That creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes.

"Driving needs your full attention, as any distraction while driving increases your risk of crashing. We all need to get involved to help stop distracted driving. Teens can be the best messengers for their peers, so when you see your friend doing anything other than focusing on the road while they are driving, speak up. Adults should lead by example by never driving distracted, as well as by having a talk with their young drivers about distractions and all of the responsibilities that come with driving," said Dr. Ruppert.

Motor vehicle traffic injuries are the leading cause of injury related death and are the second leading cause of hospitalizations in Rockland County (NYSDOH, 2016). The Rockland County Department of Health, in keeping with its' "See! Be Seen!" initiative, is working with the County's Department of Public Transportation and the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee to educate the community on traffic and pedestrian safety measures to keep yourself and your family safe.

Leaders of local organizations, agencies, businesses, community and faith-based groups are encouraged to schedule a free, interactive, 45-minute presentation. Participants will be provided with information they can post, distribute, and share with clients, family members, and others. For more information call the Health Department at (845) 364-2500 and visit