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April 5, 2011

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(Richmond, Virginia) – The impact of distracted driving is staggering. In the last five years, there were over 140,000 motor vehicle crashes in Virginia that involved driver distraction, which equates to three crashes every hour.

In observance of National Public Health Week, April 4-10, 2011, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) urges the public to make a commitment to put down their cell phones while driving.

“Practicing attentive and cautious driving is as important as wearing a seatbelt, and properly installing and using child safety seats,” said State Health Commissioner Karen Remley, MD, MBA, FAAP. “We urge you to make a commitment to focus your full attention on the road while driving.”

One of the most dangerous distractions is texting behind the wheel. A person texting while driving is 23 times more likely to crash. Cell phone use is also very dangerous; research shows that people who are using their cell phone while driving are four times more likely to get into a crash than someone who is driving without distraction from the phone (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, 2006).
To keep everyone on Virginia's roads safe, VDH recommends the following safety tips:

  • Don’t use your phone while driving.
  • Preset the radio, GPS and other electronics before driving.
  • Let others know that you will not be taking their calls when you are driving.
  • Update your voicemail message to include an "I'm driving" message.
  • Pull over to a safe place if you need to do things that require concentration.
  • Spread the word! Let others know how dangerous distractions can be.

You work hard to keep yourself and your family safe by watching your speed, and using seat belts and child safety seats; don’t negate these efforts with distracted driving.

Visit the Virginia Department of Health’s web site for additional resources and information on distracted driving.


Last Updated: 07-30-2011

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