Distracted Driving Awareness

Sending or receiving a text message takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent of driving blind at 55 mph for the length of an entire football field.

Distracted driving statistics paint a grim picture: In 2014, an estimated 3,179 people were killed and an additional 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. It is clear that distracted driving continues to be a deadly driving hazard.

According to a 2014 special article in the New England Journal of Medicine, the risk of a crash or near-crash among novice drivers increased with the performance of many secondary tasks, including texting and dialing cell phones.

The percentage of drivers text-messaging or visibly manipulating handheld devices increased from 1.7 percent in 2013 to 2.2 percent in 2014. Since 2007, young drivers (ages 16 to 24) have been observed manipulating electronic devices at higher rates than older drivers.

From April 8-13, 2016, law enforcement personnel will employ both traditional and original strategies to crack down on motorists who text while driving. The national high-visibility enforcement U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign uses two tactics: combine intense enforcement of anti-texting laws with advertising, media, and social media outreach to let drivers know about the enforcement and convince them to obey the law.

Approximately $5 million in national advertising has gone into the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign, designed to raise awareness about the enforcement effort and remind people about the deadly consequences of texting and driving. The paid advertising period will run from Monday, April 4 to Wednesday, April 13.

U Drive. U Text. U Pay. enforcement tactics include police patrols, strategically located spotters on local and state roadways, and stationary police vehicles prominently placed around communities to observe and cite violators of the law.

For more information about national distracted driving issues, visit www.distraction.gov.