The National Safety Council, an organization with a mission to prevent accidental injuries and deaths, has proclaimed April Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

The goal of the Council’s related “Just Drive” campaign is to raise public awareness of distracted driving and the danger such behavior causes to motorists traveling the roads of Kentucky. With over 40,000 dying on the nation’s roadways in 2017, the message is urgent. It is also particularly timely since the 40,000 figure marks a 6 percent increase from the 2015 number, and many blame distracted driving for the increase.

Distracted driving is of particular concern to employers since car accidents are the leading cause of work-related deaths. The message of “Just Drive” is one that employers and others can use to encourage motorists to put down the phone and keep one’s eyes on the road. After all, even just a split second of not paying attention to the road can lead to disastrous consequences, as it could mean the difference between being able to stop in time and slamming in to another car.

There are a number of ways to prevent distracted driving. While public awareness campaigns like “Just Drive” certainly help, there are also laws on the books in Kentucky and around the country that punish those who do not heed these warnings, for instance by imposing either a fine or other penalties.

In addition to these traffic laws, and after an accident, the civil law of Kentucky also allows victims of distracted drivers to seek compensation from those responsible for their injuries. This compensation can include reimbursement for items like medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.