ODOT Radio News
April 2, 2013
For more information: Shelley M. Snow, Public Affairs, (503) 986-3438
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Suggested lead: Safety advocates hope distracted driving awareness month will help reduce injuries and fatalities on Oregon roads.
SALEM - The month of April is distracted driving awareness month and safety advocates hope it will make drivers think twice about picking up that cell phone when they are behind the wheel. It might just save a life.
Kapri: Over the last three years, Oregon has lost 41 people to distracted driving and 511 have been seriously injured. (:10)
And it’s not just people in cars that are affected, according to Oregon Department of Transportation Safety Coordinator Kelly Kapri. She said bystanders can be hurt or killed by a distracted driver. So what is a distraction?
According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, a distraction occurs when attention is voluntarily taken away from the task at hand. And it happens a lot.
Kapri: Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. A study that observed 100 drivers continually for a full year found that drivers were distracted between one-quarter and one-half of the time. (:14)
Using a cell phone is one of the more common driver distractions. Eating, adjusting radios, grooming and reading are other things driver do that can create dangerous situations.
Kapri: As we know, all distractions endanger drivers, passengers and bystanders’ safety and there’s all kinds of distractions people don’t think about, but because text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction. (:18)
Oregon law prohibits texting while driving in all cases and prohibits hand-held cell phone use in nearly all situations.
Reporting from Salem, I’m Shelley Snow.
Snow: Kapri noted how dangerous it would be if you were driving 55 miles per hour and texting.
Kapri: The average it takes to text is 4.6 seconds and it’s like traveling the distance of a football field filled with people, while blindfolded. (:15)