WASHINGTON--April 18, 2013: What distracts you while you're driving? Your cellphone? A coffee cup that just spilled? Your commuter conversations?
More adults are admitting they drive distracted even though they know it's wrong.* And the statistics bear that out. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving fatalities are on the rise, accounting for more than 3,300 people killed in 2011. Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that texting creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted.
During April, National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, GEICO is calling attention to several recommendations to help drivers and their passengers get to their destinations safely.
- Turn off cellphones and other electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive. No texting while you're driving.
- Set the example for passengers and young drivers by not driving distracted.
- If your driver uses a cellphone, offer to make the call so the driver can direct full attention to driving.
- Plan ahead and eat any meals before driving.
- Attend to any personal grooming before driving.
- Always wear your safety belt as this is your best defense against unsafe drivers.
A number of GEICO offices are also hosting community events to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving during April. In Virginia Beach, GEICO is sponsoring a party for a local high school that earns the highest percentage of student pledges during GEICO's Distracted Driving Pledge Contest. And in Woodbury, N.Y., associates are visiting local high schools to discuss the risk of distracted driving among teens.
In addition, GEICO-sponsored NASCAR driver Casey Mears is working with DRIVE SMART Virginia during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in Virginia to speak out about the hazards associated with distracted driving.
*Information provided by a recent survey from AT&T.