The annual “Put it Down” Distracted Driving Awareness Campaign is implemented by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Six in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties from July to November. This life-saving campaign serves to inform drivers of the risks of distracted driving and increase awareness of the Florida law banning texting while driving using the message: NO TEXT. NO CALL. NOTHING IS WORTH LOSING A LIFE OVER.
Over the past seven years, FDOT has partnered with hundreds of local and national partners to promote the campaign’s safety messages. Through these partnerships, and with the use of print and digital materials and more than 330 outreach events, the campaign messaging has been viewed more than 340.2 million times.
WHAT IS DISTRACTED DRIVING?
Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger and bystander safety. Below is a list of eight unsafe behaviors to avoid:
TEXTING: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting while driving is one of the most dangerous driver distractions because it involves visual, manual and cognitive distractions. You should pull over to read directions and put your phone in “Do Not Disturb Mode” while driving.
GROOMING: Pressed for time, some people conduct grooming activities in the car, such as putting on makeup or using an electric shaver. Do yourself and other drivers a favor by completing your morning routine at home or when you arrive at your destination.
EATING AND DRINKING: Your steaming cup of coffee spills or ingredients slip out of your sandwich—any number of distractions can arise when you drive and dine. Stay safer by saving the refreshments until you’re parked.
MONITORING PASSENGERS: In a recent State Farm® Distracted Driving survey, 40 percent of drivers indicated that attending to children in the backseat is very distracting, while 53 percent of drivers said the same thing about having a pet in their lap while driving. Try your best to avoid these distractions and stay focused on the road.
RUBBERNECKING: Slowing down to look at a traffic incident could cause a crash of your own. The same thing goes for lengthy looks at billboards, a street address or a great mountain view.
MUSIC: Playing your radio at a high volume or wearing headphones can take your focus away from the road. These distractions also reduce the likelihood you’ll hear car horns, emergency vehicles or other key noises.
DAYDREAMING: If you’ve ever realized you just missed an exit because you weren’t paying attention, you’ve experienced a common distraction: daydreaming. Resist the urge to drift off while driving, and keep your attention on the road. Vary your typical driving routes. A change in scenery and traffic conditions could help you stay alert.
DROWSINESS: According to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation®, an estimated 60 percent of Americans have admitted to driving while drowsy, and 37 percent have nodded off behind the wheel. If you feel sleepy, pull over. Walk around to wake up, switch drivers or find a safe place to nap before you resume driving.
How at risk are you?
- During daylight hours, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving in the United States.
- Cell phone use in the United States is highest among 16 to 24-year-old drivers.
- Texting takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds: That’s like driving the length of a football field at 55 mph BLIND.
- Teens whose parents drive distracted are two to four times as likely to also drive distracted.
“Distracted driving endangers drivers, passengers and bystanders,” said FDOT District Six Secretary Jim Wolfe. “Help keep our roadways safer. When you’re behind the wheel, just Put it Down.”