It's something that's become so commonplace, many of us don't give it a second thought. Or we think we are the ones who do it safely while other people are dangerous. Texting and driving. The truth is that 8 out of every 10 car accidents in North America involve distracted driving. This commonplace 'bad habit' can have tremendous human cost.
On December 22, 2017, cycling racer Jason Lowndes was killed by a car while training close to his home in Australia. At 23 years old, he was killed by a distracted driver who had been texting for 15 minutes before the impact took his life.
Jason was an exceptional athlete and a great friend to many, yet his story has unfortunately become common. Cyclists or not, most of know at least one person who’s been in a crash involving a distracted driver. Just last month in Florida, a distracted driver ran into 14 cyclists, two of whom were killed.
Too many people have died from texting and driving. That is why we have pledged to leave our phones alone while driving.
Don't Text and Drive Day - December 22, 2018
We are joining our friends at Garneau in taking Jason’s story to make something meaningful: a real change.
On December 22, 2018, we will be putting our phones down for International Don’t Text and Drive Day. It will remind us to be more present, both in and out of the car. It will remind us that life is more important than emojis. It’s more important than YouTube or social media. Life is the most important message. We want to make everyone on the planet aware of the dangers of texting and driving. Texting while driving affects cyclists, pedestrians, runners, as well as other motorists, and it’s time for it to stop.
Distracted Driving by the Numbers
Don’t just take our word for it. Head over to teensafe.com to read over 100 statistics about distracted driving. Here are some of the most shocking ones we found:
- Approximately 660,000 drivers use their phones while driving every day.
- 77% of adults and 55% of teens believe they can easily text and drive.
- 25% of all motor vehicle crash fatalities are from distracted driving. This accounts for almost four thousand deaths last year, yet this number is hard to come by. By all expert accounts, this number is vastly under reported.
- It only takes 3 seconds of distracted driving for a crash to occur. That’s about as long as it takes to have a bite of a sandwich or a drink of coffee, much less using your phone.
- Distracted driving follows the same psychological pattern as driving while intoxicated.
- Hands-free devices aren’t as safe as you’d think. For 27 seconds after using one of these devices, you will remain distracted, even as you try to get back into “driving” mode.
What You Can Do
- Take the Pledge to Stop Texting and Driving today. If you’ve already signed a pledge in the past, then take this opportunity to renew that pledge.
- Join us on December 22 and put your phone down. This will be a day of reflection that we hope will touch millions of people around the world, and we want it repeated every December 22, in honour of Jason and all the others who have died for no reason.
- Purchase the “No texting while driving” wristband for $5 and have a constant reminder to leave the phone alone. Shipping is free, and all proceeds from sales of the bracelet will go 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 people who follow you on social media 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 distracted driving fatalities goes much further than one day of not using our phones. Sign the pledge and stop using your phone while driving every day for the rest of your life.