The Curry Coastal Pilot

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NTSA) has, for the first time, designated April as national "Distracted Driving Awareness" month. Across the country, a campaign aimed to save lives will remind motorists, "U Drive. U Text. U Pay."

In Oregon, from 2008 to 2012, 13 people were killed in crashes involving drivers who admitted to or were witnessed using a handheld mobile communication device, according to the NTSA. Officials believe that number is much higher because people may not admit they were distracted while driving, especially if they were using a cell phone.

We believe it, too.

Every day, employees at the Pilot look out the office windows at motorists on Chetco Avenue - and we spot numerous instances of people driving and talking or texting on phones. We urge all drivers to focus more on driving and less on phones, iPods and other hand-held electronic devices. Other distractions include paying attention to passengers or pets, eating or even grooming.

Please avoid distractions and focus on getting where you want to go safely.