Distracted Driving: How to Raise Awareness | Phones Down Eyes Up

Distracted driving is one of the biggest dangers on the road. People engaging in non-driving activities while on the road causes more than 3,000 deaths per year. It’s something that is preventable if people are made aware of the dangers.

With that in mind, Geotab sponsors a “Phones Down, Eyes Up” benefit that started to honor Brandon Walli, who died after getting struck by a vehicle. It is believed that he was distracted by looking at his phone while walking.

The benefit raises awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and walking. Geotab, which develops systems that help fleet truck drivers drive more efficiently and safely, hosts the event because the company “a strong believer in the power that technology has to create positive change, especially in the areas of fleet optimization and driver safety. Everyone can play a role in helping improve road safety and reduce traffic fatalities and injuries.”

Donations made at the event fund a scholarship fund named in Walli’s honor.

Eye-Opening Statistics

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that distracted driving led to the loss of 3,166 lives in 2017 alone. 

The NHTSA writes that any non-driving activity that takes a driver’s eyes off the road for even a few seconds is a potential distraction and “increases your risk of crashing.” They particularly point out the perils of attempting to text while you drive.

Sending or reading a text takes, on average, about five seconds to do. However, at 55 miles per hour, that’s like driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed. 

The NHTSA sums up the situation with a simple but important message: “You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention.”

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Every year, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) designates April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Law enforcement officers across the country spend this month looking specifically for drivers texting or using their phones while driving as part of the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” enforcement campaign.

The DOT urges both pedestrians and those on bicycles to always be aware of their surroundings and not get distracted by their phones. For drivers, they recommend the following steps to prevent distracted driving.

  • Turning off all electronic devices
  • Placing them somewhere out of reach before you start driving
  • Set a good example for young drivers in the car
  • Talk with teens about responsible driving
  • If you are a passenger, speak up if the driver uses an electronic device while driving
  • If you are a passenger, offer to make any calls or look up any information on the telephone
  • Always wear your seat belt

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) also promotes safe driving by setting rules and regulations for commercial fleets to follow.

Distracted Driver Awareness Campaigns

Geotab seeks to add to the awareness driven by government campaigns by holding the “Phones Down, Eyes Up” (#PhonesDownEyesUp) event. The event includes a free concert, outdoor games, face-painting, and giveaways.

“Eyes on the Road – Responsibility on Both Sides of the Wheel” is emblazoned on items at the event, from Frisbees to T-shirts. You can check out the event video here, along with links to move information about preventing distracted driving.

Popular hashtags to use if you make posts about distracted driver awareness include #distracteddriving, #distracteddrivingawarenessmonth, #distracteddrivingawareness and #distracteddrivingkills. Geotab products that support safe driving among commercial fleets include the Go Rugged device designed to help drivers operate in conditions such as snow, ice, heat and dust. The company is committed to supporting fleet managers in making their operations more efficient and safer.

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