MURRAY – April is Nationwide Distracted Driving Consciousness Month, and the Kentucky Transportation Cupboard’s (KYTC) Workplace of Freeway Security is reminding everybody to “buckle up and put the cellphone down.”
A Kentucky Workplace of Freeway Security (KOHS) information launch mentioned distracted driving has develop into one of many main causes of car crashes within the U.S. over the previous decade, and Kentucky is marking the month with its Buckle Up/Cellphone Down marketing campaign. In keeping with KOHS, distracted driving leads to greater than 50,000 crashes, greater than 15,000 accidents and roughly 200 deaths annually in Kentucky.
Keith Todd, spokesman for KYTC District 1, mentioned it’s estimated that distracted driving – particularly, texting whereas driving – is a think about about 25 % of crashes on Kentucky’s highways. He mentioned that’s about the identical proportion that alcohol-related crashes was, however public consciousness campaigns in opposition to driving underneath the affect have been efficient in decreasing that quantity over time. Sadly, he mentioned cases of distracted driving have continued to rise during the last couple of a long time as cellphones have develop into increasingly ingrained in on a regular basis life.
“Due to consciousness and enforcement, the DUI numbers are all the way down to round 10% or 12% now, so we’ve just about reduce them in half,” Todd mentioned. “We proceed to work on that, however proper now, the issue that continues to rise is distracted driving, and it’s about 25% the final time I appeared.”
Home Invoice 415 – which former Gov. Steve Beshear signed into legislation on April 15, 2010 – banned texting whereas driving, however Todd mentioned there may be one regarding loophole that KYTC officers hope the Basic Meeting will take away sooner or later.
“One of many issues that we have been taking a look at engaged on in Kentucky is that there’s an exemption within the legislation so long as the automobile isn’t shifting,” Todd mentioned. “What occurs is there are lots of people who will choose up their cellphone and test their textual content messages once they cease at a stoplight, in order that has develop into extra of a problem.”
Todd mentioned one constructive growth in the previous couple of years is that in the course of the allow course of, younger folks studying the right way to drive are prohibited from utilizing their telephones. After somebody earns their license, they’re additionally not allowed to make use of their cellphone whereas driving for the primary two years, he mentioned.
“To me, that that type of helps them get within the behavior of not utilizing a cellphone in any respect whereas they’re driving,” Todd mentioned. “Then there are some apps that can maintain your cellphone from working while you’re going above 5 mph. You may set up it in your cellphone, and then you definitely’re not bugged by your cellphone beeping at you with messages.”
Murray Police Chief Jeff Liles urged all drivers to concentrate to the highway and to all the time concentrate on your environment whereas driving.
“We would like everybody in our group and throughout the state to be as secure as attainable whereas are driving, and we don’t need (distractions) to be the reason for an accident that can hurt your self or anybody else,” Liles mentioned. “There are numerous issues on the highway that may distract you when you’re driving, however the largest factor proper now could be your cellular gadgets. Anybody can cease in entrance of you in a short time, or a lightweight can change or there’s a cease signal (you didn’t anticipate). A break up second is all it takes for one thing to occur. You need to by no means take your eyes off the highway or your palms off the wheel.”
Calloway County Sheriff Nicky Knight mentioned that whereas any cellphone use takes a driver’s consideration away from the highway, texting is all the time the largest offender. Though the state legislation was modified to particularly make texting whereas driving unlawful, it isn’t an offense for which deputies are capable of write many tickets, he mentioned.
“It’s simply a kind of legal guidelines that, I’m not saying we will’t implement it, however it’s arduous to implement,” Knight mentioned. “The legislature places legal guidelines on the books and expects us to implement them and so they don’t take into consideration how arduous it’s for us to implement them. However I’m not saying it’s a foul legislation … we’ve all seen folks texting whereas driving. You is perhaps stopping at a cease signal and any individual will go by you with their cellphone out in entrance of them.”
The Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration says that whereas something taking a driver’s consideration off the highway is harmful, texting and utilizing a cellphone is very dangerous as a result of it combines all three forms of distraction – visible, handbook and cognitive. Along with the concentrate on distracted driving, although, the Buckle Up/Cellphone Down marketing campaign can be emphasizing the continued significance of sporting a seat belt, which the NHTSA says offers drivers one of the best likelihood of stopping damage or dying. Correctly mounted seat belts contact the strongest components of the physique, such because the chest, hips and shoulders. Additionally they unfold the pressure of a crash over a large space of the physique, placing much less stress on anybody half, and permitting the physique to decelerate with the crash, extending the time when the crash forces are felt by the occupant, the NHTSA mentioned.
“Texting whereas driving is illegitimate for all motorists, however we would like folks to cease as a result of it’s the correct alternative, not simply because it’s the legislation,” mentioned KYTC Secretary Jim Grey. “If you get behind the wheel, placing away your cellphone ought to be as automated as placing in your seat belt. Sadly, many motorists don’t do both, which is why we’re selling the Buckle Up/Cellphone Down message.”
In keeping with KOHS, greater than half of these killed in motor autos annually in Kentucky will not be sporting a seat belt.