It’s a typical weekday. You’re commuting to (or from) work, or possibly driving as part of your job during the day. You notice a car in front of you swerving slightly into the other lane then correcting. At times the driver speeds up and then suddenly slows down again. This goes on for several miles and you begin to look for the opportunity to safely pass. As you pass, a quick glance confirms the driver is texting and trying to drive.
Last year there were 40,000 fatalities on our nation’s roads, a 6% increase over the prior year after decades of decline fatalities. The National Highway Safety Transportation Association (NHTSA) attributes the decline to significant advancements in vehicle safety, but motor vehicle accidents STILL remain the number one cause of employee injury and fatality each year. Use of cell phones are among the top causes along with impaired driving, speeding, driver fatigue, and reckless driving.
“U DRIVE U TEXT U PAY” signs are now being posted along New Jersey highways. They are there to remind drivers that in New Jersey texting and driving is illegal. Fines range from $200 for a first offense to loss of driving privileges for multiple offenses. Many law enforcement investigators are checking cell phone records as part of the investigation into serious accidents.
The national safety council has identified April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Our industry can take the lead by continuing to encourage and remind employees and customers to put down cell phones and just drive.