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April is “Distracted Driving Awareness Month” in Virginia, and safety advocates hope to reduce the number of accidents distracted drivers cause. News/Talk 960’s Evan Jones has more.

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Figures show close to 80% of crashes involve driver inattention. Distracted driving can include texting and cell phone use, eating and drinking, or just reaching for something.  All can increase the chances of harm to yourself, loved ones or others.

Virginia Tech research is playing an important role in distracted driving research. Its Transportation Institute has placed cameras in cars and recorded driver behavior in lengthy studies. They find that on average,  someone texting while driving has his or her eyes off the road more than four seconds. And at 55 miles per hour, that can mean inattention as the car travels the length of a football field. Researchers say most accidents come with little warning, and paying attention offers the best chance to avoid harm.