By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

Situational Awareness (aware of your surroundings at all times) is huge in the fire service. It provides firefighter safety at all times by maintaining situational awareness and being present at all times. The same holds true with driving. We all need to be aware and present and expect the unexpected at any time.

Since this is the last week of April, I wanted to write one more article as April is National Distracted Driver Awareness Month.

You’ve seen it, and likely have even done it. They’ve drifted into your lane, driven right through red lights, blown past you in a hurry only to sit when the light turns greens because their texting or distracted. They injure or kill thousands annually.


At any given daylight hour there are over 700,000 drivers using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices in this country. Over one third of drivers admit to texting and driving and three quarters say they regularly see or encounter others doing it.

Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.

“In 2014 drivers with smart-phones had grown to 80 percent and is rising (the phone may be smart but the users aren’t!). April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month,” reminds Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. “Now is the time to unplug yourself before you hurt yourself, others, or worse: “drive yourself to death.”

When driving, put your cell phone away. Not where you can see it light up for every notification you receive. Your cell phone should also be on silent mode. Just because your hands aren’t on your phone doesn’t mean the distraction has been eliminated. If a phone call or text message is really important, it’s best to pull over into a safe location — preferably a parking lot — before using your phone.

The same holds true with eating and driving, putting on makeup or fumbling for your smokes. It’s all called “Distracted Driving” and it’s deadly!

Be safe, be civil and be smart, without the phone!

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Stay and Drive Safe!