Today, Seventeen Magazine and AAA have one thing to say to America's young drivers: Turn off your phone to save your life!"
That's the message of National Two-Second Turnoff Day, a day on
which Seventeen, AAA, and the Department of Transportation are reminding
everyone that turning your attention away from the road while driving for
just two seconds doubles your crash risk. And that two seconds is all it takes to shut off your phone to protect yourself and others from potential distraction.
Because, we know that texting and talking on a cell phone while driving can have deadly consequences for more than just the distracted driver. This behavior also kills passengers, pedestrians, cyclists, and people in other vehicles. In 2008, distracted driving-related crashes killed 6,000 people and injured at least half a million more.
To mark National Two-Second Turn Off Day, National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland took part in an event here in Washington, DC, where the audience pledged to "Turn it off!"
As Administrator Strickland said, "Your choice will keep you and your friends and family safe. You are choosing to be part of the solution to distracted driving crashes. And you are helping us spread the word."
He also praised the young filmmakers and safety advocates who produced videos for the Seventeen Magazine-AAA-DOT-sponsored National Two-Second Turnoff Day Video Challenge:
"I especially want to congratulate all the participating teens who have shown their creativity and commitment to spreading the message with their video entries. They were great!"
In an event in New York City, Seventeen Editor-in-Chief Ann Shoket, unveiled the contest winner, Emily Lambert (above), and runners-up, Danielle and Justin Levy and the crew from TTYL (below). The month-long challenge drew terrific entries from across the nation, but these two were recognized as standing apart from the crowd.
I want to thank our partners at Seventeen Magazine and AAA for working with us on this contest. But I also want to send a special thanks to the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), who spent considerable energy promoting our video challenge to America's young people.
NOYS has been a tireless partner in so many of our efforts in this fight to end distracted driving, and you'll hear more about them next week at our national Distracted Driving Summit.
And, on the subject of Tuesday's summit, I want to thank the great folks at Autoblog.com for letting me borrow some space on their website to deliver my safety message directly to America's car lovers. Autoblog has a fantastic community; within minutes of posting my message, their readers responded with dozens of comments.
Finally, as the summit approaches, I want to also thank Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post for letting me bend her ear about the dangers of this deadly epidemic. I'm glad to know she's been making it to the office without checking her messages!