Why would I want to take the distracted driving pledge if I can’t talk on my cell while driving? I’m a multi-tasker!
I’m pleased and proud to announce that Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion is leading the nation as a dealership encouraging people to “Take the Pledge!” – starting in April during National Distracted Driver Awareness Month.
For years, I’ve been speaking at driver training schools where I plead with teens not to text or talk on their cell phones while driving. Though it may be a law for teens not to talk on their cells or for anyone to text, it is still dangerous for adults of any age to talk or text while driving.
Even though you may have hands-free talking capability, being mentally engaged in a conversation still takes your focus off the road. Distracted driving also includes eating, reaching for your phone or purse or other device, putting on make-up, reading directions or other information, or doing anything that takes your eyes off the road.
Statistics show that if you’re texting and driving, you are 20 more times likely to be in a crash. Taking your eyes off the road for only a few seconds for any distraction, amounts to traveling the length of a football field with your eye closed! Yikes! According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, anyone using a hand-held device is four times as likely to be involved in a serious accident.
So I’m putting my “money where my mouth is” and supporting an organization called “FocusDriven” by donating $1 to this organization for everyone who goes to our Jaffarian Facebook page and takes the pledge. I have committed to donating up to $5,000. FocusDriven was founded by a woman who was instrumental in getting the U.S. House of Representatives to designate April as National Distracted Driver Awareness Month and is an advocacy organization that encourages cell-free driving. Shelley Forney’s motivating factor was based on a personal tragedy—her 9-year-old daughter was struck and killed by a distracted driver. As a family-owned and family-centered business, we want to be sure no one else has to experience such a tragic loss.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,300 people were killed and 400,000 were injured in 2012 in crashes that involved distracted drivers. According to Shelley Forney, about 11 people die in the U.S. every day from distracted drivers. There were 213,000 crashes in the U.S. in 2011 involving distracted drivers, an increase of 53,000 from 2010.
Unfortunately, the numbers of accidents and deaths increases every year from distracted drivers, though 41 states including Massachusetts, have outlawed texting while driving. Please join the Jaffarian staff, FocusDriven, and the National Safety Council this April in urging those you care about to:
• Stop using cell phones while driving
• Recognize that hands-free devices offer no safety benefit
• Understand the dangers of the cognitive distraction to the brain
• Inform people who call you while driving that you’d be happy to continue the conversation once they have reached their destination
• Tell others about the dangers of cell phone distracted driving.
Though it may not fit into your busy lifestyle to give up talking or texting while driving, I ask each of you to take the pledge. I hope this initiative will raise awareness, change behavior, and ultimately save lives. I thank you for considering joining me in Jaffarian’s “Take the Pledge” initiative and help us spread the word and make the roads safer.
Here’s to safe driving without a device in your hand!