BECKLEY, WV (WVNS)– In West Virginia, 14 people died in 14 separate distracted driving crashes in 2018, according to the latest data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Triple A Retail Manager Autumn Bess said in 2019, the company started a campaign in West Virginia and several other states called Don’t Drive Intoxicated Don’t Drive Intexticated to help lower the number of distracted drivers.
“Our goal here at AAA is to make sure that we are having the conversations needed to make distracted driving as social unacceptable as drinking and driving,” Bess said.
Bess said distractions include more than texting, it is anything that diverts your attention from driving and the road.
“Keep in mind that it’s not just cell phones,” Bess said. “Things like your radio in the car and your car’s navigation system. Eating your lunch in the car these are all things that can distract us as well.”
Bess said the biggest tip they give drivers is to make sure everything is set up and ready to go before you start driving.
“We are in control of a vehicle and unfortunately a moment of distraction could be the end of our life or the life of someone else,” Bess said. “It is so important that you make sure when you are operating a vehicle that your focus is on the road and what is around you.”
Here are some tips from AAA to avoid distracted driving.
Prepare for your drive. Set vehicle systems like GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before hitting the road. Decide on your route and check traffic conditions ahead of time. And please, finish dressing and personal grooming at home – before you get on the road.
Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated. The consequences of alcohol-impaired driving and texting while driving could be the same: Put aside electronic distractions and never use text messaging, email, video games or internet functions, including those built into the vehicle, while driving. Stow your smartphone away, turn it to airplane mode, or activate call/text blocking features.
Stay focused. Do not let anything divert your attention. Be sure to actively scan the road, use your mirrors, and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists. If you have passengers, enlist their help as a “designated texter.” Ask them to answer your calls, respond to texts and program the navigation.
Take the pledge not to drive distracted by visiting AAA.com/dontdrivedistracted.