In an effort to make our roads safer, Grundy County Public Health announced today that they have joined the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "One Text or Call Could Wreck It All" campaign to stop distracted driving. Grundy County Public Health has pledged their support to help spread the message that distracted drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but everyone else on the road.
"We all know that talking on our cell phones while driving is distracting, but that doesn't stop most people from continuing to do it," said Chris Bare, Health Educator with Grundy County Public Health. "This effort is intended to educate our community about the dangers of cell phone use and other distractions while driving. We hope that once people see the statistics and realize the danger involved, they will change their driving habits to help protect themselves, their families, and others on the road."
In 2009 alone, nearly 5,500 people were killed and a half million more were injured in distracted driving crashes. That same year, 20 percent of injury crashes involved reports of distracted driving.
While anything that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off the task of driving is a hazard, there is heightened concern about the risks of texting while driving because it combines all three types of distraction visual, manual and cognitive.
The national distracted driving effort focuses on ways to change the behavior of drivers through legislation, enforcement, public awareness and education the same activities that have curbed drunk driving and increased seat belt use.
Grundy County's campaign will include working with schools, communities and Driver's Education classes.
"Every driver in Grundy County has a role in this effort," said Chris Bare. "However, we especially want to reach out to parents with teen drivers because we know that statistically, the under-20 age group had the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes."
Grundy County Public Health's goal with this campaign is simple save lives by getting drivers to remember that "One Text or Call Could Wreck It All."
"Distracted driving is an epidemic on America's roadways, and we're doing our part to help put an end to it," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. "Texting and cell phone use while driving is extremely dangerous, and we know simply getting drivers to turn their phones off when they get behind the wheel will make our roads significantly safer. Efforts like this one will help us put an end to distracted driving, and we encourage your support of this program to help save lives in your community."
For more information about distracted driving, please visit www.distraction.gov, or you can contact Chris Bare at 319-824-6312.