In an effort to increase safety for all drivers on the road, and create awareness of distracted driving, last year, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, designated April as national “Distracted Driving Awareness” month. In 2014, EPD issued 907 citations for Driver use of Cellphone (ORS 811.507), a slight drop from the 954 citations issued in 2013, but still above 813 issued in 2012, and significantly above 522 citations that were issued in 2011. Distracted driving continues to be an issue in our community and on a national level, as indicated in the following information from the NHTSA.
Information from NHTSA: Based on fatal accident reports, NHTSA data shows that at least 3,154 people were killed in crashes involving all distracted drivers in 2013, including those who were texting and driving. NHTSA estimates that 424,000 Americans were injured in all distraction-affected crashes in 2013.
Key statistical findings in NHTSA’s new Distracted Driving Traffic Safety Facts and Teen Distracted Driver fact sheet include:
- Ten percent of fatal crashes, 18 percent of injury crashes, and 16 percent of all motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2013 were reported as distraction-affected crashes, which are defined as any crash in which a driver was identified as distracted at the time of the crash.
- Ten percent of all drivers 15 to 19 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crashes. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted at the time of the crash.
- 244 Americans aged 15 to 19 were killed in distraction-affected crashes.
- In 2013, there were 480 non-occupants killed in distraction-affected crashes.
“Young people need to understand the dangers of texting and driving before it kills them or someone they love,” said Administrator Rosekind. “It’s up to us as parents to set the right example by never texting and driving ourselves, and by laying down the law for our young drivers: no texting behind the wheel or no keys to the car. These are driving safety lessons that young drivers will carry with them throughout their lives.”
Chief David W. Ennis of the United States Naval Academy Police Department also shared his experience of ticketing drivers for distracted driving, and discussed the consequences of distracted driving crashes. Chief Ennis spoke on behalf of thousands of law enforcement personnel nationwide who are using traditional and innovative strategies to crack down on motorists who text and drive.
The awareness effort is supported by a $5 million national television, radio and digital advertising campaign, which runs from April 6-15, and reminds the public of the deadly consequences of distracted driving, and the financial penalties for violating state distracted driving laws. Ads will run in English and Spanish.
Forty-five states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for drivers of all ages; 14 states and territories prohibit drivers of all ages from using hand-held cell phones while driving; and 38 states plus the District of Columbia ban cell phone use by novice drivers. Two states, Oklahoma and Texas, restrict school bus drivers from texting.
To prevent distracted driving, motorists are urged to:
- Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
- Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
- Speak up when you are a passenger and your driver uses an electronic device while driving. Offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the driving task.
- Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are the best defense against other unsafe drivers.
Eugene Police Department, Distracted Driving PSA