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AAA WCNY, AT&T & NYS Police Team Up with WNY Officials to Host Distracted Driving Awareness Day | Business

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AAA WCNY, AT&T & NYS Police Team Up with WNY Officials to Host Distracted Driving Awareness Day
 AAA WCNY, AT&T & NYS Police Team Up with WNY Officials to Host Distracted Driving Awareness Day

York State Senators Chris Jacobs and Michael Ranzenhofer, AAA Western and Central New York, New York State Police and AT&T teamed up to raise awareness for AAA’s 100 Deadliest Days (the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when teen crash fatalities historically climb 15 percent compared to the rest of the year), as well as AT&T’s “It Can Wait” public education campaign and NYS distracted driving laws.

Distracted Driving Awareness Day in Western New York was hosted June 1 at AAA WCNY headquarters, where young drivers, parents and all those who visited the Amherst AAA were educated about the dangers of distracted driving.

The goal of Distracted Driving Awareness Day in Western New York was to educate and remind all drivers that a post, a selfie, a text, a scroll, an email—one look when behind the wheel is all it takes to lose a life.  Research shows that 7-in-10 people engage in smartphone activities while driving, and 1-in-10 motorists have even video chatted while driving. The day also stressed that summer months bring more motorcyclists, young drivers, bicyclists, farm vehicles and construction workers to the roads, and more pedestrians to the sidewalks, making roadways more dangerous. Drivers need to be more aware and eliminate all distractions when behind the wheel.

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s latest study, Rates of Motor Vehicle Crashes, Injuries, and Deaths in Relation to Driver Age, analyzes crash rates per mile driven for all drivers and found that for every mile on the road, drivers ages 16-17 years old are:

·         3.9 times as likely as drivers 18 and older to be involved in a crash

·         2.6 times as likely as drivers 18 and older to be involved in a fatal crash

·         4.5 times as likely as drivers 30-59 to be involved in a crash

·         3.2 times as likely as drivers 30-59 to be involved in a fatal crash

To help drive home the message of the dangers of distracted driving, visitors were able to test drive AT&T’s virtual reality “It Can Wait” simulators set up at AAA, which allow users to experience in 3D just how dangerous it can be when you drive and take your eyes off the road to look at your smartphone. In addition, the New York State Police provided driving safety tips for the warmer weather, clarified laws pertaining to distracted driving and discussed the devastating dangers associated with this behavior. AAA driving instructors offered tips and literature on how to avoid distracted driving.

AT&T announced during the event that a recent study conducted by the company shows that 95 percent of drivers disapprove of distracted driving, yet 71 percent engage in smartphones while driving, while 57 percent of drivers say they would stop using their phone behind the wheel if asked by a friend or loved one, underscoring the importance of public education.  To help those drivers who can’t resist their phones, AT&T offers a free app, DriveMode, for smartphones, that deactivates texting and other alerts when the car is moving and sends a friendly away message to incoming communication.

Senator Jacobs has been a longtime champion of combating distracted driving and keeping Western New York roads safer, a mission he began as Erie County Clerk and one that he continues to support today in Albany. Senator Ranzenhofer is a notable supporter of distracted driving safety initiatives.

“Alarmingly, 7-in-10 drivers engage in some sort of smart phone activity and often times these actions can have deadly consequences,” said New York State Senator Jacobs (SD-60).  “I’m proud to join AT&T, AAA Western and Central New York and the New York State Police to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and remind everyone that your text, call, social media post or selfie can wait.”

"Every summer, we read about serious injuries and tragic deaths as a result of accidents involving distracted driving, and each one of these incidents can be prevented. By raising awareness about the 100 deadliest days, we can save lives. I applaud AAA, AT&T and the State Police for their efforts," said State Senator Ranzenhofer. 

“Parents are the front line of defense for keeping our roads safer this summer,” said Tony Spada, President & CEO, AAA Western and Central New York. “It all starts with educating teens about safety on the road and modeling good behavior, like staying off the phone and buckling your safety belt.”

“Driving is a major part of our everyday lives and people are passionate about smartphone communications,” said Kevin Hanna, director of External Affairs, AT&T. “But using your smartphone for activities like messaging or social posts while driving is very dangerous for everyone on the road and why the company is so dedicated to our It Can Wait campaign.  AT&T is proud to be working with Senator Jacobs, Senator Ranzenhofer, AAA and New York State Police to raise awareness of the dangers and help people change their behavior in Western New York by encouraging drivers to keep their eyes on the road and not on their phone.”

“We just entered the ‘100 Deadliest Days,’ the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when teen crash fatalities historically climb,” said Elizabeth Carey, director, Public Relations for AAA WCNY. “Since teens drive more during the summer than any other season, this is a timely reminder to everyone—drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists—to be mindful when sharing the roads with young drivers.”

“Mobile and smart phones are a way of life, but when driving on the roadways you may take a life by answering a text or using social media,” said Major Steven Nigrelli, New York State Police – Troop A Commander. “Help make our roads safe by keeping your eyes on the road and not on your phone.”

For the rest of the summer, AAA will feature a special “It Can Wait” pledge board and the partnering organizations are encouraging all visitors to sign the pledge to keep their eyes on the road and not on their phone.

For additional information on AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign, visit www.ItCanWait.com. AAA also offers TeenDriving.AAA.com which provides a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teens for the dangerous summer driving season. The online AAA StartSmart program also offers great resources for parents on how to become effective in-car coaches as well as advice on how to manage their teen’s overall driving privileges. 

 

 

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