So far, the weather forecast for this Thanksgiving weekend is promising clear skies and pretty warm temperatures. That is good news for those who are hitting the road this week for the annual journey to family and feasting. But even without the chance of ice or snow (at least in the immediate vicinity), Thanksgiving weekend is one of the biggest travel weekends across the country. And as familiar as the reminder might be, it never hurts to bring up safe travel when so many of us will be on the road.
This Thanksgiving, we encourage all drivers to incorporate another safe driving practice into their travels: take the pledge to end distracted driving. It is one of the biggest contributors to highway crashes across our country and it remains one of the most difficult to address. Just like seat belt use and drunk driving used to be, fixing the problem of distracted driving requires not only new laws and education, but a decision on the part of every single driver to simply not use their cell phones or other electronic devices while they are behind the wheel.
Thinking of the example of seat belt use is proof that these positive changes can be made and our highways can be safer than they are today. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently reported that—after decades of educational campaigns and enforcement efforts—seat belt use is at an all time high. According to studies conducted in 2012, 86% of Americans are buckling up when they get into a car. That means there’s still room for improvement, but we have come a long ways since the days when cars didn’t even come equipped with seat belts.
It is time to make that same improvement when it comes to distracted driving. No phone call, text message or email is more important than the safety of you, your loved ones and the other families on the road. Keep that in mind when you are on the road this week and keep your phone away where it belongs. Changing this safety issue begins with each and every one of us.