Distracted driving. It's not just an American tragedy; it's global. And because it's not just an American epidemic, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has joined the campaign against this deadly behavior.
Tomorrow morning, at UN Headquarters in New York, we're launching a "Global Call to Action on Ending Distracted Driving". I'll be joining the Secretary General, the Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, and FocusDriven President Jennifer Smith.
Together, we're saying, "Hang up." We're saying, "Put it down." And we're saying, "Just drive."
We'll say it in as many languages as it takes until the world's drivers get the message: you cannot text or talk on a call phone and drive safely. It doesn't matter what country you're in; you just can't do it.
Here's the sad reality. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.2 million people die in road crashes worldwide each year--that's one traffic-related fatality every 30 seconds of every day. And another 20 to 50 million are injured annually.
We also know that crash injuries are the leading cause for all 15-29 year-olds.
The good news is that these crashes, these deaths--they're preventable. Between 80-90% of traffic accidents are caused by driver behaviors, dangerous and avoidable behaviors like distracted driving.
I'm pleased to announce that the UN launch will be streamed here and on www.un.org/webcast.
But you don't have to sit on the sidelines. In conjunction with the UN event, we're setting loose a Tweet heard 'round the world. So, tomorrow, you can jump into this worldwide campaign by going to Twitter and posting this simple message in any language:
"The global call to end distracted driving--will you respond? Hang up; put it down; just drive. #gcedd"
It leaves plenty of room for your friends and followers to reTweet, so, please, let it fly first thing tomorrow!
We've also opened a new Facebook page to kick-off the Global Call to End Distracted Driving; it features two "Events" to mark tomorrow's launch--the webcast and the global tweet--plus some great information and the opportunity for you to add your own message, story, or comment. And keep visiting because we'll keep adding more as the global call builds.
And you can always learn a lot more about distracted driving at our one-stop resource, distraction.gov.
I hope you'll join us tomorrow. Together we can stop this; we can.