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« Does Your Car Smell Funny? Here's What It Can Mean | Main | Teens Can Help Prevent Distracted Driving: Create A Message to Save Lives »

March 05, 2014

Don’t Be A Distracted Driver: Just Put The Cell Phone Down!

Distracted-driving-thinkstock-164122239It’s time for an important reminder: Just put your cell phone down, and stop texting while driving.

I've been scolded about it by friends who have seen my in-car tweets complaining about congested traffic and bad drivers, and my response has usually been, "Sitting stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic can hardly be considered 'driving.' "

The Fact Is:
If you're behind the wheel and the engine is running and the transmission is in gear, you're driving.
That includes stopped at red lights, idling in congested traffic, or just waiting at the railroad crossing counting train cars. You're still "driving."

The Fact Is:
Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while reading a text message.
Depending on your speed, that's long enough to drive the entire length of a football field. Those five seconds could be the difference between life or death.

The Fact Is:
Most of the time those five seconds will pass without incident.
But what about those rare times when a child chases a ball out into the road, or some other inattentive driver changes lanes at the last minute, right in front of you? Cell phone use was reported in 18% of distraction-related fatalities in America.

ATT_it_can_wait-texting_factoidThe Fact Is:
More than 100,000 accidents are caused each year by distracted drivers who were texting.
I'm lucky that I haven't become one of them.  Distraction.gov statistics now show you’re two times more likely to crash if you text while driving. According to NHTSA data, more than 3,300 people were killed in 2011 and 387,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.

 

What’s one of the most common texts sent while driving? “OMW” or “on my way…”  That doesn’t seem like much, does it? Did you see that "Glee" episode in which one of the students drives her Beetle in front of a truck while texting? It was turned into a United States Department of Transportation PSA in support of its "Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks." campaign.

 

To learn more about the U.S. Department of Transportation's efforts to end distracted driving, visit www.Distraction.gov. For more information on the "Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks." campaign, please visit www.StopTextsStopWrecks.org.

 


Texting-while-driving-thinkstock-148291401Don’t Be a Distracted Driver:
Make A Pledge Not To Text and Drive

Join me, and make a commitment to drive distraction free. Many public figures, insurance companies, and communications corporations are promoting “distraction free driving” campaigns, so it’s easy to find a pledge that suits your needs. Just point your search engine to “distracted driving pledge” and take your pick. Need a little help? Here are a couple to get you started:

• Since she created the “No Phone Zone” in 2009, Oprah has received more than 423,300 pledge submissions from families to make their car a no phone zone. Submit your “No Phone Zone” pledge here.


Allstate-teen-texting-pledge• Because teen texting and driving cause car accidents that kill an average of 11 teens every day, Allstate Insurance has created a contract to help reduce teen deaths and other distracted driver injuries that encourages the entire family to pledge not to text and drive. Download the Allstate Family Texting Pledge here.

It_can_wait_logo• Need help following through with your pledge? As part of the company’s “It can Wait” campaign, AT&T is offering a free mobile smartphone application -- AT&T DriveModeTM -- free to compatible Android users in the Google Play store and BlackBerry users in the App World™, to curb texting and driving. When enabled and the vehicle is moving 25 mph, the app automatically sends a customizable auto-reply to friends and family, notifying them that the user is driving and will respond when it is safe.

 

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