The U.S. Department of Transportation today unveiled “OMG,” a new public service announcement (PSA) to warn teenagers against the dangers of distracted driving.
The PSA is available on the newly redesigned Distraction.gov website, along with new materials designed especially for young drivers. The PSA will air nationwide on Regal Cinema theater screens this week and on gas station pump-top screens owned by Outcast’s PumpTop TV throughout the month of December.
Two versions of the PSA will air. A version geared towards a teenage audience will run exclusively on 6,589 movie screens in 526 cinemas across the country that are owned and operated by Regal Entertainment Group. A more somber version will air on the 12,000 screens that top pumps at high traffic gas stations across the United States operated by Outcast’s PumpTop TV. Both versions of the PSA are available for viewing on DOT’s redesigned website, www.Distraction.gov.
“Today’s teenagers make no secret about the fact that they want to stay connected to their social networks and enjoy text messaging. That’s why it’s so important that we educate young drivers of the dangers of distracted driving and help them make smart decisions that will keep them safe during the holiday season and beyond,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland.
In 2009, Secretary LaHood launched a national anti-distracted driving campaign to combat the growing trend toward this dangerous behavior, including a dedicated website to provide the public with a comprehensive source of information on the issue. Since then, DOT has also hosted two national summits devoted to reducing distracted driving, crafted sample legislation which states can use to adopt distracted driving laws, and initiated pilot law enforcement programs in Hartford, Conn., and Syracuse, N.Y., modeled after the Department’s successful efforts to increase seatbelt use and curb drunk driving.
Currently 35 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam have banned text messaging by all drivers. Nine states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands have prohibited all hand-held cell phone use while driving.
To view the new ads click here.
To learn more about DOT’s campaign against distracted driving, visit www.Distraction.gov.
As a Miami Car Accident Attorney, I have represented too many victims of accidents caused by Distracted Drivers.
It is difficult to estimate the number of accidents caused by Distracted Drivers, but we know Distracted driving is a top danger behind the wheel. It is estimated that eighty (80) percent of crashes involve some sort of driver inattention within three seconds of that crash.
Driving distracted includes anything from talking on the phone, to messing with your music, to attending to your children or even pets. All of these actions can lead to serious consequences.
In 2008, at any given moment, over 800,000 people were texting, making calls, or using a hand-held cell phone while driving in the United States. With distracted driving killing nearly 6,000 Americans in the same year.
Texting While Driving Statistics
Approximately 6,000 deaths and a 500,000 injuries are caused by distracted drivers every year.
While teenagers are texting, they spend about 10 percent of the time outside the driving lane they’re supposed to be in.
Talking on a cell phone while driving can make a young driver’s reaction time as slow as that of a 70-year-old.
Answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds. That is enough time to travel the length of a football field.
2009 Cell Phone and Distracted Driving Statistics
In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in the U.S. because of accidents that involved distracted driving. Another 448,000 were injured.
Of the 5,474 killed because of distracted driving, 995 involved reports of a cell phone as a factor.
The under-20 age group had the highest percentage of distracted drivers; 16% of drivers under 20 years old involved in fatal crashes were distracted while driving.
The 30- to 39-year-old age group had the highest percentage of cell phone use in fatal crashes.
A teen driver riding with one other passenger doubles the risk of being involved in a fatal car crash. With two or more passengers, the risk increases to five times as likely.
Teen Driver Cell Phone and Text Messaging Statistics
Despite the risks, the majority of teen drivers ignore cell phone driving restrictions.
In 2007, driver distractions, such as using a cell phone or text messaging, contributed to nearly 1,000 crashes involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers.
Each year, 21% of fatal car crashes involving teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 were the result of cell phone usage.