We’ve all been guilty of it at some point or another. We’re driving along, and our phone “dings” with a message notification, or we suddenly remember we needed to tell someone something. So we reach for our phones to just give them a super quick read or type out a super-fast message. Sure we’re distracted, but it’s only a for a second or two. What’s the harm?
The truth is, one or two moments of texting while driving is enough to alter your life—or the lives of others—permanently. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015, 3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. That fatality rate was up nearly 10 percent from the year before. And texting while driving is especially problematic among millennials aged 16 to 24 years old, who have consistently been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at much higher rates than older drivers for the past decade.
Of course, most people are against texting while driving. According to recent data from AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, 8 in 10 drivers believe it to be completely unacceptable for a motorist to text or e-mail behind the wheel. But more than a third of those very same people also admitted to reading text messages while driving.
This spring, it’s time to end the hypocrisy and get tough on those who text and drive. That’s why, from April 6 to April 10, law enforcement officers from around the country will be partnering with the NHTSA to step up efforts to catch distracted drivers with the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign. And those who are busted won’t be getting off with a warning. Not only will they have to face all the embarrassment that comes with being pulled over, they’ll also be issued citations that can carry some pretty heavy fines. So when you get behind the wheel, put the phone away, and encourage others who drive you to do the same. You may feel like a nag doing so, but you also just might wind up saving your own life and the lives of other innocent people.
For more info on U Drive. U Text. U Pay., visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.