BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission has just two words for drivers during Distracted Driving Awareness Month — Just Drive.

Louisiana drivers are urged to pay attention to the road and avoid distractions.

“When you’re driving a motor vehicle, your only job is to drive,” LHSC Executive Director Lisa Freeman said. “Driving should have nothing to do with a cell phone, a radio, a conversation with a passenger, or a colorful billboard. Just Drive. Nothing more and nothing less.”

The commission cites federal and state highway safety data, saying distracted driving in the state kills dozens, injures thousands and costs communities hundreds of millions in property damage, loss of productivity, and medical and legal costs.

“In 2020, 180 were people were killed and more than 4,000 people were injured in Louisiana because of distracted or inattentive drivers,” Freeman said. “Cell phones are a part of it, but they are not the only thing. Anything, inside or outside of the car, that takes a driver’s attention away from driving is a distraction and a potential danger.”

LHSC says in addition to 180 fatalities and 4,289 injuries in 2020, distracted drivers also were responsible for 9,198 crashes that caused only property damage in Louisiana, according to the Center for Analytics and Research in Transportation Safety at LSU.

“Behind the statistics is the grim reality of the human cost of crashes,” Freeman said. “It is simultaneously heartbreaking and infuriating that these tragedies could have been prevented if the drivers had just paid attention to driving.”