Distracted Driving Awarness
April 17, 2019 | Posted in Safety
Distracted Driving Awareness Month
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is mobilizing law enforcement officers nationwide to look out for drivers texting or using their phone behind the wheel. The ‘U Drive. U Text. U Pay.’ high-visibility enforcement campaign, now in its fifth year.
In 2016, new NHTSA data shows that at least 3,450 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, including those who were texting and driving.
To prevent tragedies due to distracted driving, motorists are urged to:
Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task.
Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are the best defense against unsafe drivers.
All pedestrians and bicyclists should focus on their surroundings and not on their electronic devices.
Why Distracted Driving Awareness Month is Important
Texting and swerving
People who text and drive statistically spend 10% of their time on the road outside their lane. Yikes.
43 of America’s 50 states have laws prohibiting texting and driving. South Dakota, New Mexico, Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri have laws regulating it. Arizona just extended their reckless driving laws to cover texting.
Texting is worse than drunk driving
Texters are six times more likely to wreck their car than drivers over the legal drinking limit.
The History of Distracted Driving Awareness Month
Meet Shelley Forney: a Mother and safety advocate and speaker from Fort Collins, CO. On November 25th, 2008, her life was forever changed due to a person looking down at their cell phone while driving an SUV. Her daughter, Erica, was 9 years of age at the time and was riding her bike home from school when she was struck head on. She was only 15 pedals from home .
This and countless other stories about distracted driving are far too common and unacceptable in today’s safety-centric world. Back in 2008, cell phone distraction had not been described as an “epidemic” and there were no news stories that covered the issue. Erica left her family 2 days after the accident on Thanksgiving day. What Erica’s Mother did next changed the course of the issue forever.
There was an enormous amount of work to do. Shelley went on to found a distracted driving advocacy group named Focus Driven and became an independent contract safety speaker.
House Resolution 1186
Coinciding with the conference, a resolution was being voted on that would help Shelley’s efforts. On March 23rd, 2010 House Resolution 1186 passed with an overwhelming majority of 410 to 2, and Rep. Betsy Markey presented the news to Shelley in person.
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