Campaign Aims to Curb Distracted Driving


Photo Credit(s) to Cpl. Efrain Hernandez/CCSO

The Collier County Sheriff ’s Office has launched a new traffic crash prevention,awareness and education campaign called, “Just Drive – that’s it”. The campaign encourages motorists to avoid distractions while driving,especially cell phone use, in order to pay full attention to the road.

Texting, talking, using a map – basically anything other than driving – is dangerous because it takes your attention away from the road.

In 2016, 10 percent of all accidents in Collier County were caused by some form of distracted driving. And last year more than 100 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving someone using a cellphone or other electronic communication device in Collier County.

“No text message or e-mail is worth the risk of endangering your life or the lives of others on the road,” said Sheriff Kevin Rambosk. “By just driving, you are keeping yourself and others on the road at a lower risk for crashes.”

The agency is using social media – Facebook,Twitter and Instagram – to promote the campaign and to provide important safety information and tips for motorists. You can follow the campaign using the hashtag #ccsojustdrive.

The campaign also features window clings with the message “Just Drive –that’s it,” which deputies are distributing, along with educational fliers, during traffic stops and special events. The clings are available at CCSO substations for motorists to display in the back windows of their vehicle. CCSO Youth Relations Bureau deputies are distributing the clings to Teen Driver Challenge students during the portion of the session that addresses the dangers of aggressive driving.

Lighted message boards along local roads carry the “Just Drive” message.

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These types of distractions include texting,using a cell phone or smartphone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers,grooming, reading, using a navigation system, watching a video, and adjusting in car audio.

Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football fieldblindfolded, according to the NHTSA.

In 2015 there were a total of 960 distracted driving crashes in Collier County.Of that number, 174 crashes involved injuries and two involved fatalities.Distracted driving crashes accounted for 12.2 percent of all crashes in Florida in 2015, 7.4 percent of fatal crashes and 15.4percent of all injury crashes, according to the state DHSMV.

Drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be involvedin a crash, according to studies by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

Teenagers are among the drivers most impaired by distraction.A 2016 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 60 percent of teen crashes are caused by distracted driving.

The top distraction for teens is other passengers, accounting for 15 percent of teen driver accidents, compared to 12 percent caused by texting or talking on a cell phone.

CCSO offers these safety tips to help remind motorists to make all activities secondary to driving:

  • Leave your house with plenty of time to make it to your destination.
  • Before you depart:
    • Put on any accessories you may be need such as sun glasses before you depart and
    • Adjust seats and seat belts
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