Today is ‘Distracted Driving Awareness Day’ in Virginia

June 6, 2007

AAA Mid-Atlantic and Drive Smart Virginia, along with the insurance industry and other partners, are calling on Virginians to take action today on Distracted Driving Awareness Day and make a pledge to pay attention while driving.

Distracted Driving Awareness Day was created to raise awareness among drivers about the dangers of driving while distracted and to encourage drivers to change their driving behavior.

Driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes, according to a research report recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI). Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event. As such, Governor Timothy M. Kaine signed a proclamation recognizing June 6, 2007, as Distracted Driver Awareness Day in Virginia.

The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that driver distraction is a factor in 25 to 50 percent of all crashes or 4,000 to 6,000 crashes per day. Distracted driving is the number one killer of American teens. (NHTSA study)

All but five states with cell phone bans have primary enforcement laws, accprding to the National Institute for Highway Safet.

Fourteen states (Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia) and the District of Columbia restrict the use of cellular phones by young drivers.

“We are losing people every day on Virginia’s highways because of reckless behavior such as distracted driving,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Distracted driving day is a good reminder that everyone needs to make safe driving a priority on the Commonwealth’s interstates, not just today, but year-round.”

DRIVE SMART Virginia coordinated the 2007 Distracted Driving Day in Virginia. Participating organizations include: DRIVE SMART Virginia, AAA Mid-Atlantic; Allstate; AIG Agency Auto; GEICO; Lawrenceville Brick, Inc.; Liberty Mutual; Nationwide; USAA; Farmers; Farm Bureau; Progressive; Rockingham Group; U.S. Department of Transportation; Federal Highway Administration; and WAVY 10 TV.


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