FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT:||Buel C. Young||MVA Media Relations|
ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGY: AN UNNECESSARY MOTORIST RISK
MVA To Remind Motorists During Distracted Driving Awareness Month
GLEN BURNIE, MD (April 10, 2012) -- The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration's (MVA) Highway Safety Office is proud to support National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. During the month of April, safety advocates around the nation are encouraging drivers to make a lasting commitment to drive cell-free. In Maryland, drivers are asked to set clear rules while behind the wheel. Texting and talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal in Maryland; it is not safe for anyone and it can be especially dangerous for teens.
Motor vehicle crashes kill more teens than any other cause and texting while driving raises the risk of a crash even more. According to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety which used in-car video footage to capture various driver distractions, talking and texting was the leading cause of distraction observed, as seen in seven percent of the video clips. More importantly, the goal is to educate teen drivers of the dangers of distracted driving and help them make smart decisions that will keep them safe.
Around the nation, drivers are being educated about the dangers of distracted driving. This month long campaign will focus on the challenges associated with electronic devices and the ability to make cell phone and texting while driving socially unacceptable. Each driver could promote safe driving practices and refuse to talk to another driver while he or she is behind the wheel. Promote safety apps that will automatically send calls to voicemail as well as forward a response to the incoming caller.
There is ample evidence that explains why using electronic devices increases a driver's chance of being involved in a motor vehicle. More than 800,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone at any given moment during daylight hours. (Source: NHTSA) According to the nonprofit Focusdriven, 57% of drivers recognize talking on cell phones is a very serious threat to their personal safety www.focusdriven.org.
Despite the research, drivers continue to use electronic devices on the go and nearly tripling their chances of being hurt or killed while driving. In response, states are beginning to enact legislation that addresses these dangerous behaviors. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, there are nine states, including Maryland, D.C., Guam and the US Virgin Islands that prohibit all drivers from using handheld cell phones while driving. Furthermore, more than 35 states, including Maryland, D. C., and Guam ban texting while driving for all drivers.
Maryland's Highway Safety Representative for Governor Martin O'Malley and the Administrator of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration John Kuo said, "I want to stress to every driver in Maryland to get off that handheld device while driving, everyone who operates a vehicle on our roadways has a responsibility to drive safely, to devote their full attention to the task of driving and to avoid engaging in risky driving behaviors that jeopardizes the safety of everyone. Even an experienced driver needs to constantly maintain alertness, so they can be ready to respond to any unexpected situation." Maryland encourages driver responsibility with a combination of strategies, including targeted pubic information campaigns about traffic safety laws, education programs, radio and television advertisements, and high visibility traffic law enforcement.
10 Tips for managing distractions while driving:
- Turn your cell phone off before you get in the vehicle.
- Place the cell phone in the back to avoid reaching for it.
- Avoid wearing headphones (may be illegal).
- Do not multitask – drivers make an average of 20 major decisions during every mile of driving.
- Use safety apps to avoid texting and talking while behind the wheel.
- Stay focused because distracted driving can make a driver 23 times more likely to crash.
- Change voicemail and outgoing greeting message to indicate you are current driving.
- Ask your passenger to make a call for you.
- Prepare for your trip before pulling off (review, change, set any navigation, radio, climate control).
- In the event of an emergency, always pull over to safe place and make the call.