Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks
Kansas City, Missouri - October is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Region 7, consisting of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska, is working with respective law enforcement to ramp up enforcement of distracted-driving laws to raise awareness about the dangers of using your phone while driving. This annual campaign is part of NHTSA’s national U Drive. U Text. U Pay. high-visibility enforcement effort that runs from October 5-12, 2020.
According to NHTSA, between 2012 and 2018, nearly 23,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver. In fact, there were 2,841 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2018. While this represents a 12-percent decrease in distracted driving fatalities from 2017, there is clearly more work to be done.
“Law enforcement officers enforce distracted-driving laws to save lives,” said NHTSA Region 7 Administrator, Susan DeCourcy. “Distracted driving often involves texting or other phone use, but texting is the most dangerous because it requires drivers to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and concentration off the task of driving. We want drivers to focus on the most important task: hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”
Many drivers are guilty of a “double standard” when it comes to distracted driving. In its 2018 Traffic Safety Culture Index, the AAA Foundation reported that while nearly 96 percent of drivers believed it was very or extremely dangerous to read a text or email while driving, 4 out of 10 drivers admitted to doing so within the previous 30 days.
“The research tells us that people know texting and driving is dangerous, but many give themselves a “personal exemption” and do it anyway, putting themselves and others at risk,” said DeCourcy. “Beginning October 5, law enforcement will be ramping up enforcement across the nation. This isn’t about writing citations—we are trying to create safer roads across the country. If you text and drive, you will pay.”
NHTSA urges you to put your phone down when you get behind the wheel. If you need to text, then pull over and do not drive. Texting while driving is dangerous and illegal. No text or post is worth ruining someone’s day—or taking a life. Remember: U Drive. U Text. U Pay. For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.