Know the True Dangers
With car crashes being the leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States, it is imperative to show how distracted driving shatters lives so everyone can fully understand the risks faced while on the road. Driving deserves the driver’s full attention because many lives are on the line while traveling on back roads, highways and interstates. There are many distractions that a driver may encounter while behind the wheel, but the leading one today is texting.
More than 70 percent of adults and teens have admitted to texting while driving. Research shows that the average driver takes their eyes off the road five seconds while texting. While five seconds doesn’t seem long at all, it is long enough to result in an accident that can shatter lives. As an example, if a car is traveling at 55 mph, five seconds gives them enough time to travel the length of a football field, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI).
Data released by VTTI also shows that drivers who become involved in visual-manual sub-tasks, which include texting, dialing or reaching for a phone, are three times more likely to get into a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in 2012 that 11% of all drivers younger than 20 who were involved in fatal crashes that year were reportedly distracted during the crash.
States Enacting Laws
Many states have enacted laws that crack down on distracted driving, and more efforts are underway to promote the awareness of the dangers. The NHTSA reports everyday more than 1,060 people being injured and more than 9 people being killed in crashes on U.S. roadways in accidents that involve a distracted driver. These are injuries that could be prevented and lives that could be saved if the message just gets out detailing the actual dangers.
There are three main kinds of distracted driving – visual, manual and cognitive, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Visual involves taking one’s eyes off the road, manual means taking one’s hands off the steering wheel, and cognitive involves taking your mind off what you are doing … driving. The instances of distracted driving in the U.S. are much greater than those reported across Europe.
Powerful Public Service Announcement
Several European countries have launched successful distracted driving campaigns that feature public service announcements aired on public television that show violent crashes resulting from distracted driving that involve serious injury and death. Because it seems as though those graphic ads have proven effective, the U.S. has now followed suit. The new ad campaign is kicking off National Distracted Driving Month.
The new PSA, which was done by The Tombras Group, targets teens. It is short and gets straight to the point while showing a car filled with happy teens driving down the highway up until the point where the driver gets a text message as the car is nearing an intersection. Of course, she darts her eye from the road for just a second, but that is long enough to run a stop sign and go directly into the path of another vehicle.
Perhaps those who view the new ad will wake up and become aware of the dangers of distracted driving. It is definitely riveting. With the theme, “U drive. U text. U pay.” hopefully teens will get the message. For more information on what you can do to end distracted driving, visit JustPutitDown.com, my campaign to end this senseless act. Take the pledge and grab a free EBook to share with family and friends.