Distracted driving is defined as any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystanders. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2014 there were 3,129 fatalities and 431,000 injuries attributed to distracted driving-related motor vehicle crashes. During that same time period, 10% of all fatalities involving drivers 15-19 years of age were reported to have been distracted at the time of the crash.
In an effort to continue to promote education and encourage positive changes in driving behavior, the Newport Police Department, in cooperation with the Newport High School Leadership Class, brought an educational distracted driving event to the students of Newport High School. The event was Monday, 04/18/2016, from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds.
The program is in partnership with State Farm Insurance; it is called “Talk To You Later. Got To Go Drive.” Or in text message language, “TTYL GTG DRV”. For this event, students operated a golf cart through a traffic cone course in an open parking lot of the Lincoln County Fairgrounds. Students had to negotiate the course which consisted of stop signs, curves, backing, and parallel parking. Student drivers navigated the course while attempting to carry on a text message conversation with another student observing from the sideline. Continue reading
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the theme is that if you are texting you are not driving. Studies show many drivers will talk and text when they’re alone, but think twice about it when they have a passenger. Yet nearly all drivers think it’s dangerous to do so, passengers or not. More than eight in every ten respondents to a recent survey said they feel uncomfortable riding with a distracted driver. ODOT and partner agencies the Oregon State Police and AAA are emphasizing the importance of focusing on driving when you’re behind the wheel.
ODOT Director Matt Garrett said their goal is to change cultural norms when it comes to distracted driving. When you get behind the wheel of your car you should switch it to silent mode and stow it away so that it’s out of reach. Record a message on your phone that tells callers you’re driving and will get back to them when you’re off the road, or sign up for a service that offers this feature. Apps can help you avoid texting while driving. Go to your app store and search for Distracted Driving Lifesaver. If you need to make a call, pull over to a safe area first.
If using a GPS device, enter your destination before you start to drive. If you prefer a map or written directions, review them in advance. If you need help while driving, ask a passenger to assist you or pull over to a safe location to change your GPS or review your map/directions. Multi-tasking behind the wheel is dangerous. Refrain from eating, drinking, reading, grooming, smoking, and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road. ODOT data analysis of crashes in Oregon in 2010-2014 shows on average, a distracted driver crash occurs in Oregon every two and a half hours and on average, a person is injured in a distracted driver crash in Oregon every 3 hours.
information provided by ODOT