April 24, 2009
The Purcellville Police Department is partnering with the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and over 90 other Public and Private Agencies throughout Virginia to raise awareness to Distracted Driving and Distracted Driving Awareness Day on April 29. Governor Kaine is expected to issue a proclamation for that day. The prohibition against texting while driving will also go into effect on July 1. It will become a secondary violation at that time and Law Enforcement Officers will be able to cite drivers if they are stopped originally for another violation.
1,026 people died on Virginia’s roadways in 2007. That’s nearly three fatalities every day. Understand this! Cars don’t kill people. Cars are navigated by people. Cars crash by the actions of people.
A Virginia Tech study showed that 80 percent of all crashes, and 65 percent of all near crashes involved a distracted driving incident within 3 seconds of the event. Distracted driving may be defined as anything that takes your eyes and/or mind off of the road.
Tips to Minimize your Distracted Driving
1) Change your Ways and recognize the activities that distract you; such as eating, conversing on the phone, or changing a CD. Once you recognize these distractions, you can work to eliminate them.
2) Make a Plan. Know your route in advance and make sure that you have a good understanding of your directions. Check weather and road conditions. If you are transporting children, make sure they are all properly buckled up.
3) Manage your time so that you do not have to multi-task or drive aggressively on the road.
4) Don’t let your drive time become your down time. Understand that driving is not your down time or time to catch up on phone calls, personal grooming, or dining.
5) Scan the Roadway to make sure that you are aware of others on the road at all times. Be prepared for the unpredictability of others.
6) Concentrate on your driving. Make sure that you are not upset or tired when getting on the road. This is not the time to have serious or emotional conversations with your passenger.
7) Pull Over if you need to do something that will take your eyes and/or mind off the road. Make sure that you find a safe place to pull over first.
8) Reduce the Use. Use Technology sensibly.
9) Take a Refresher Class. Everyone can pick up bad habits through the years. A driver improvement class can raise your awareness and help assess your driving ability.
10) Buckle up, Every Trip, Every Time. Making sure that everyone is properly buckled up.
To learn more about Distracted Driving, contact Sgt. Joe Schroeck of the Purcellville Police at 540 338-7422 and visit www.drivesmartva.org.