FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
NHTSA and Law Enforcement Remind Drivers:
U Drive. U Text. U Pay.
The Oakland Police Department is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the national U Drive. U Text. U Pay. high-visibility enforcement effort. From April 3-10, 2023, law enforcement officers will work together to enforce texting and distracted-driving laws.
According to NHTSA, 32,657 people died in distraction-affected crashes over the 10-year period from 2012 to 2021. A distraction-affected crash is any traffic crash in which a driver was identified as distracted at the time of the crash. Research shows that Millennials and Generation Z are the most distracted drivers, often using their cell phones to talk, text, and scroll through social media while behind the wheel. In 2021, 7% of drivers 15 to 20 years old involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted.
“Distracted driving is a leading cause of vehicle crashes on our nation’s roads, and most of this distraction is attributed to texting while driving,” said Oakland Police Lt. Sean Fleming. “People know texting and driving is dangerous and often illegal, but they do it anyway, and it puts others at risk. Beginning April 3, drivers will see increased law enforcement efforts, as officers will be stopping and ticketing anyone who is caught texting and driving,” Fleming said.
Many drivers are guilty of a “double standard” when it comes to distracted driving. In its 2018 Traffic Safety Culture Index, the AAA Foundation reported that while nearly 96% of drivers believed it was very or extremely dangerous to read a text or email while driving, 4 out of 10 drivers admitted to doing so within the previous 30 days.
Economic Costs Associated With Distracted Driving
The estimated economic cost of all motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States in 2019 (the most recent year for which cost data is available) was $340 billion, of which $98 billion resulted from distracted-driving crashes.
Included in the economic costs are lost productivity, workplace costs, legal and court costs, medical costs, emergency medical services, insurance administration costs, congestion impacts, and property damage.
These costs represent the tangible losses that result from motor vehicle traffic crashes but fail to capture the relatively intangible value of lost quality-of-life that results from these injuries.
When quality-of-life valuations are considered, the total value of societal harm from motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States in 2019 was an estimated $1.37 trillion, of which $395 billion resulted from distracted-driving crashes.
Drive Safe Every Trip
The Oakland Police Department and NHTSA urge drivers to put their phones away when behind the wheel. If you need to text, pull over and do not drive while doing so. If you are the driver, follow these steps for a safe driving experience:
If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it is safe to text.
Ask your passenger to be your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.
Cell phone use is habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Activate your phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature, or put your phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of your vehicle until you arrive at your destination.
Texting while driving is dangerous and illegal. Break the cycle. Remember: U Drive. U Text. U Pay. For more information, visit www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/distracted-driving