Distracted Driving and Work Zone Safety: Awareness Campaigns are Now Underway
April was National Distracted Driving Awareness month. We joined our partners at the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Oregon State Police, AAA Oregon/Idaho, and the Oregon Trucking Associations to help get out the word in a press conference in Eugene in early May. After the press conference, OSP Troopers provided reporters all across the state ride-alongs looking for distracted drivers or speeders in work zones, to help bring the problem home to people all across the state.
A recent AAA survey of distracted driving showed that about nine out of every 10 drivers admitted risky behavior in the month before the survey. Seven out of every ten respondents to the AAA survey said they had talked on their cell phones while driving in the past 30 days; four out of every ten admitted they had read texts or emails while in traffic.
The latest data show that Oregon drivers are also distracted. According to ODOT, on average over the five year period 2010–2014:
- A crash involving a distracted driver occurred every 2.5 hours.
- A crash involving cell phone use occurred more than 5 times a week
- Almost 1,500 people a month were convicted of using a cell phone while driving.
May is Oregon Transportation Safety Month, so the social media campaign our partners began in April will run through the entire month of May. (Visit www.twitter.com/OregonDOT for one example.) This month we’re focusing specifically on distracted driving as one of the main causes of work zone crashes, as we raise awareness on work zone safety.