In all honesty, you've probably texted while driving and thought it wasn't that big of a deal. But did you know that 8 out of 10 car accidents in North America involve distracted driving? The consequences can be very real.
On December 22, 2017, cyclist Jason Lowndes was fatally struck by a car while training near his home in Australia. He was only 23 years old and lost his life to a driver who had been texting in the 15 minutes before the accident. Jason was an exceptional athlete and a great friend to many, but his story has become all too common.
Cyclist or not, we all probably know at least one person who has been in an accident involving a distracted driver. Last month in Florida, an inattentive automobile driver hit 14 cyclists, two of whom were killed. Too many people have died because of texting while driving. That's why we pledge to put our phones aside when we drive.
22 DECEMBER IS "DON'T TEXT AND DRIVE" DAY
We join our friends at Garneau in being inspired by Jason's story to do something meaningful: real change. On December 22, 2018, we'll be putting down our phones for international "Don't Text and Drive" day.
This will remind us to be more present, both in and out of the car. This day will encourage us to think that life is more important than emojis. It is more important than YouTube or social media. Life is the most important message. We want the world to be aware of the dangers of texting while driving. This behaviour affects cyclists, pedestrians, runners and other drivers, and it's time for it to stop!
DISTRACTED DRIVING BY THE NUMBERS
Don't just take our word for it. Go to teensafe.com to read over 100 statistics on distracted driving. Here are some of the most shocking data we found:
- Approximately 660,000 drivers use their phones while driving every day.
- 77% of adults and 55% of teenagers think they can easily text while driving.
- 25% of all road accidents are caused by distracted driving. That's nearly four thousand deaths last year, but that figure is hard to come by. All the experts agree that this number is grossly underestimated.
- It only takes three seconds of distracted driving for an accident to occur. That's about the same time it takes to eat a sandwich or drink a coffee, and even less to use a phone.
- Distracted driving follows the same psychological pattern as drunk driving.
- Hands-free devices are not as safe as you might think. For 27 seconds after using one of these devices, you are still distracted, even if you try to put yourself back in driving mode.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Make a commitment to stop texting while driving today. If you have already signed a pledge in the past, take this opportunity to renew it.
Join us on December 22nd and put down your phone. It will be a day of reflection that we hope will reach millions of people around the world, and we want it to be repeated every December 22, in honour of Jason and all the others who have died in vain.
Buy the "No texting while driving" wristband for $5 and have a constant reminder to put the phone down. Shipping is free and all profits from the sale of the bracelet will be donated to families who have lost loved ones to distracted driving.
Spread the word! Talk to your loved ones about distracted driving, send the pledge to your friends to sign, and let your social media contacts know why you'll be putting your phone down on December 22 (use the hashtags #donttextanddrive and #istandwithgarneau so we can find your posts!).
December 22 will be a day of reflection, but the need to reduce the number of victims of distracted driving goes far beyond a one-day commitment to not using our phones. Sign the pledge and give up using your phone while driving every day for the rest of your life, because you still have one.