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MEMPHIS, Tenn. - In the last 10 years, distracted driving was to blame for more than 172,000 accidents on Tennessee roadways, according to the Tennessee
Department of Safety. Experts believe that number is actually higher, with not everyone reporting their distraction at the time of an accident. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and AARP Tennessee is reminding Tennesseans about the importance of paying attention when behind the wheel. George Coleman, state coordinator for AARP Tennessee, teaches safe-driving classes in the Memphis area.
"People are doing so many more things," he says. "They're multiple-tasking in their driving and this is why so many crashes are happening, because people are not paying attention and there are distractions to what they're doing."
Smartphones are increasingly a major distraction for drivers. Tennessee bans the use of hand-held cell phones by school bus and novice drivers. Text messaging while driving is illegal. AARP Tennessee sponsors safe-driving classes around the state for folks who'd like some extra pointers and updates on the laws; some insurance companies offer discounts to people who complete the class. Coleman says it's important not to underestimate the lifelong impact a moment of distraction can have.
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Learn more about AARP's Driver Safety program and find a refresher class in your community - visit the AARP Driver Safety site >>