FRANKFORT, Ky. – Gov. Andy Beshear is driving home a life-saving message for all motorists by declaring Oct. 25 as Buckle Up Phone Down Day.
“Driving must be the most important thing on your mind when behind the wheel,” said Gov. Beshear. “We hope Buckle Up Phone Down Day reminds motorists to protect themselves and others by staying alert and buckling up – every trip, every time.”
Over the past decade, distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes on our nation’s roads. According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) Office of Highway Safety, each year in Kentucky, distracted driving results in more than 50,000 crashes, more than 15,000 injuries and approximately 200 deaths.
“Choosing not to text while driving is not only the right thing to do, it also keeps you from breaking the law,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “When you get behind the wheel, putting away your phone should be as automatic as putting on your seat belt. Unfortunately, many motorists do not do either, which is why we promote the Buckle Up/Phone Down message.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or mind off the task of driving is a hazard, texting and using a phone while driving is especially risky because it combines all three types of distraction – visual, manual and cognitive.
“Sometimes even the most attentive drivers are involved in a crash caused by other drivers,” said Secretary Gray. “That is why wearing your seat belt is the best defense against serious injuries and death.”
According to the NHTSA, wearing a seat belt gives motorists the best chance of preventing injury or death if involved in a crash. Properly fastened seat belts contact the strongest parts of the body, such as the chest, hips and shoulders. A seat belt spreads the force of a crash over a wide area of the body, putting less stress on any one part, and allows the body to slow down with the crash, extending the time when the crash forces are felt by the occupant.
According to KOHS, each year in Kentucky, more than half of those killed in motor vehicles are not wearing a seat belt.