Distracted Drivers Beware of U Drive. U Text. U Pay.
PUNXSUTAWNEY – For the past decade, distracted driving has taken the nation’s roads by storm, endangering not only those who drive distracted, but also those drivers’ passengers, adjacent vehicle occupants and nearby pedestrians.
According to the Pennsylvania State Police, distracted driving takes many forms: talking on or manipulating the phone, adjusting the radio, applying makeup, eating or drinking. These can all distract a driver from the essential task of safe driving.
However, state police say that texting is one of the most common, pervasive forms of distracted driving, and too many drivers are succumbing to this deadly—and often illegal—habit.
The state police is partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to raise awareness about the potentially deadly risks from texting while driving.
From April 12-16 as part of the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign, law enforcement will be watching closely for distracted drivers.
- According to NHTSA, 3,450 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2016.
- In 2016, 9.2 percent of fatal crashes in 2016 were reported as distraction-related.
- Texting while driving has become an especially problematic trend among millennials. According to NHTSA, young drivers 16 to 24 years old have been observed using hand-held electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007.
- Nine percent of drivers 15 to 19 years old who were involved in fatal crashes were reported as being distracted at the time of the crash in 2016. This age group has the largest percentage of drivers who were distracted at the time of a fatal crash.
- Hand-held cellphone use while driving is highest among 15- to 29-year-old drivers, but female drivers are most at-risk for being involved in a fatal crash involving a distracted driver.
- Female drivers with a cell phone have been more likely to be involved in fatal distracted-driving crashes as compared to male drivers every year since 2012.
Safety Tips for Driving
- If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road, it is safe to text.
- Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
- Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.
- Cellphone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk or back seat of your vehicle until you arrive at your destination.
Put Your Phone Away or Get Ready to Pay
- Don’t follow the trends. When you get behind the wheel, be an example to your family and friends by putting your phone away. Texting and driving isn’t a “cool” or trendy behavior—it’s a deadly and, oftentimes, illegal activity that could kill you, a loved one, a friend or a stranger.
- In 47 States, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, texting while driving is an illegal, ticketable offense.
- If your friends text while driving, tell them to stop. If your passengers catch you texting while driving and tell you to put your phone away, put it down.
- No one likes to be called out by a friend for doing something wrong, but it’s even worse to get caught by law enforcement and end up paying a fine.
- Remember, when you get behind the wheel, put your phone away. U Drive. U Text. U Pay.
For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.