RALEIGH – The North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program has launched its annual One Text or Call Could Wreck It All campaign to encourage motorists to not drive distracted. The campaign reminds those behind the wheel of a vehicle that distracted drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but everyone else on the road.
“The number of crashes caused by distracted driving is on the rise,” said Don Nail, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program. “Drivers need to realize the danger involved and change their driving habits to help protect themselves, their families, and others on the road.”
Last year in North Carolina, 177 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated additional 26,962 were injured. This is a nine percent increase over the previous year in the number of fatal crashes caused by distracted driving.
North Carolina law bans all cell phone use, both handheld and hands-free, for bus drivers and all drivers under the age of 18 years old, and bans texting and emailing for drivers of all ages. Governor Roy Cooper recently proclaimed April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
While anything that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off the task of driving is a hazard, there is heightened concern about the risks of texting while driving because it combines all three types of distraction – visual, manual and cognitive.
The Governor’s Highway Safety Program in partnering with AT&T’s It Can Wait campaign to visit high schools in Durham, Greensboro, Wilmington, and Charlotte to educate students about distracted driving.
“We are excited to be working with the Governor’s Highway Safety Program to help spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving,” said Venessa Harrison, President of AT&T North Carolina. “There simply is no text, tweet, email, search or post which is so urgent that it can’t wait until it can be done safely.”
It Can Wait is AT&T’s national campaign to raise awareness of the dangers posed by a driver who is distracted by their mobile device. Through virtual reality technology, students will experience the consequences of texting while driving.
For more information about distracted driving, please visit www.distraction.gov.