The month of December is one of the heaviest traffic times of the year, as shoppers go about their business, and the working world carries on their daily duties. There are more travelers, too, so the focus on preventing distracted driving is very important, at all times, but especially when there are more vehicles in city streets and on the highways.
Department of Transportation unveils ‘OMG’ PSA to warn teens about the dangers of distracted driving.
The U.S. Department of Transportation 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 new PSA is designed to reach teenagers using imagery that relates to popular shorthand text messages such as “L8R” for “later” or “LOL” for “laugh out loud.” Two versions of the PSA will air. A version geared toward a teenage audience will run exclusively on 6,589 movie screens in 526 cinemas across the country. A more somber version will air on the 12,000 screens that top pumps at high traffic gas stations across the United States.
The human toll is tragic,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary David Michaels about the consequences of distracted driving. “The Department of Transportation reports that in 2009, more than 5,400 people died in crashes linked to distraction and thousands more were injured.
Texting while driving has become such a prominent hazard that 30 states now ban text messaging for all drivers. It is an employer’s responsibility and legal obligation to create and maintain a safe and healthful workplace, and that would include having a clear, unequivocal and enforced policy against the hazard of texting while driving.” In an Oct. 20 blog post, Michaels said, “Companies are in violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act if, by policy or practice, they require texting while driving, or create incentives that encourage or condone it, or they structure work so that texting is a practical necessity for workers to carry out their job.”
Agencies such as OSHA, the Department of Transportation, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, are working together to ensure that companies enforce the policy that their employees who are required to drive all or part of their work shift do not text while driving. Technology has made workers able to accomplish more by faster communications; however, there is a time and place for use of a cell phone, and it is not while driving. These calls should be made when the driver is stopped and pulled over. If there is an accident because of talking or texting on a cell phone, how much time is saved then? For more information, visit OSHA’s Distracted Driving Web page.
ONE TEXT OR CALL COULD WRECK IT ALL
Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways. As stated previously, in 2009 alone, nearly 5,500 people were killed and 450,000 more were injured in distracted driving crashes. The U.S. Department of Transportation is leading the effort to stop texting and cell phone use behind the wheel. Since 2009, two national distracted driving summits have been held, banned texting and cell phone use for commercial drivers, encouraged states to adopt tough laws, and launched several campaigns to raise public awareness about the issue. Distraction.gov is your resource for learning more about distracted driving. Get the facts, get involved, and help us keep America’s roadways safe. If you haven’t seen the videos, go to this website and see for yourself just how fast tragedy can strike.
Sources: USDOT, NHTSA, OSHA