Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

April 17, 2019
Contact: John Lyon, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                 Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, along with highway and local law enforcement officials, the Rockland County STOP-DWI Program and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 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 radio, entertainment or navigation system. According to the NHTSA, in 2017 alone, 3,166 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

During daylight hours, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving, according to the NHTSA. That creates enormous potential for deaths and injuries on U.S. roads. 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. 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.

Teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes. "Any distraction while driving increases your risk of crashing. 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.

For more information visit the NHTSA website at

Motor vehicle traffic injuries are the leading cause of injury related death and are the second leading cause of hospitalizations in Rockland County, according to the most recent data from the New York State Department of Health. 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