U Text. U Drive. U Pay: America’s National Campaign Against Distracted Driving Kicks Off This Month
April 2014 marks the first Distracted Driving Awareness month, an occasion the Department of Transportation plans to commemorate every year. The $8.5 million dollar campaign accompanies a concerted nationwide crackdown on distracted driving by law enforcement, and features two incredibly memorable PSAs showing a young driver glancing at her phone while driving, only to miss a stop sign and cause an accident. Though graphic, these advertisements are meant to show the real consequences of texting and driving.
The Department of Transportation reports that an estimated 3,328 people were killed in distraction-related accidents during 2012, and that texting is one of the worst distractions due to its reliance on visual, manual and cognitive attention. Studies have stated that distracted drivers show the same characteristics as impaired drivers – inconsistent speed, unsafe lane usage and tailgating. With the slogan “U drive. U text. U pay,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hopes to increase awareness of this issue and prevent drivers from further engaging in it.
Other countries are also stepping up their efforts to curb dangerous distracted driving. One ad campaign in New Zealand specifically targets habitual speeders, reminding them that, while they may feel in control of their vehicle, other drivers may make costly mistakes. The advert encourages speedy drivers to slow down to leave room for error, as high speeds prevent course correction as well as potentially causing dangerous accidents.
To assist in reducing the number of distracted-driving related crashes in Arizona, the Arizona Department of Public Safety will be focusing on finding distracted drivers and ticketing them. Because it is not against the law to text or talk on a phone while driving in AZ, officers will be looking for moving violations caused by these distractions. These moving violations could include tailgating, speeding or not staying in the proper lane. The stepped-up enforcement effort is part of a two-month program funded by a $50,000 allocation by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Drivers in Arizona (and everywhere else) should:
- Turn off/silence electronic devices and keep them out of sight while driving
- Set an example for young drivers and talk to teens about responsible driving
- Remind drivers not to text and drive if, as the passenger, you observe your driver engaging in this behavior
- Wear a seatbelt, make everyone in your vehicle wear a seatbelt and, if applicable, restrain your pet with a pet harness, seatbelt or crate
- Pull over if you are too distracted to drive (i.e. if the kids are yelling in the back seat, you want to unwrap your hamburger, and so on)
- Maintain a safe and reasonable speed. Go no faster than the flow of traffic
- Be aware of others around you, since they may be distracted while driving
At Premier Coach Works, we see the results of distracted driving every day. Take some time this month to evaluate your driving habits and eradicate the bad ones. If you have been in an accident, we work with most insurance companies to get your car repaired and on the road again as soon as possible. For more information, please visit us online at PremierCoachWorks.com or call 623-935-6678 today.