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Newport Police at Newport High: “Don’t be a distracted driver”

A "visual aid" on how you can die from texting and driving.

A “visual aid” on how you can die from texting and driving.

The Newport Police Department joins State Farm Insurance in the “Talk to You Later Got to Go Drive” Campaign to educate teen drivers about distracted driving.

In 2011 more than 3,000 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver on our nation’s roadways. The “under 20 age group” has the highest proportion of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes.
In an effort to make our roads safer, the Newport Police Department, in partnership with State Farm Insurance, has launched a campaign called the “Talk to You Later Got to Go Drive” to stop distracted driving. The Newport Police Department has pledged their support to help spread the message that distracted drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but to everyone else on the road.

The campaign will involve Newport High Students who are 15 years of age or older, and hold a valid license or permit. Students will drive a golf cart through an obstacle course marked with traffic cones. Students will drive the obstacle course while texting a designated person on the sideline. Students will also have the opportunity to drive the obstacle course wearing “drunk goggles” to raise awareness on the dangers of impaired driving.

Oregon Impact’s Mobile Educational Crash Car Trailer will be on display at the Newport High School this week. The trailer contains a car from a fatality crash in Oregon City. The trailer is designed to start conversations with young drivers. Most drivers will never see a car that has been in a terrible crash. In this case viewers can see close up the devastation that a distracted driver can cause. The exhibit has been used by parents to initiate talking with their children about the dangers of impaired and distracted driving.
The goal of traffic safety is to change and modify driving behavior that typically leads to and/or causes motor vehicle crashes. This is accomplished through engineering, legislative, education, and enforcement efforts. Anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off the task of driving, is a hazard. There is a heightened concern about the risks of texting while driving because it combines all three types of distraction: visual, manual, and cognitive. Statistics show drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash if they are texting while driving.

Texting takes your eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. At 55 MPH, that is the same as driving the entire length of a football field blindfolded.

Every driver in our community has a role in the effort to stop distracted driving. The Newport Police Department, in cooperation with State Farm Insurance, and Oregon Impact, is committed to raising awareness among teen drivers. The goal of the Newport Police Department is to save lives by getting drivers to say, “Talk To You Later Got To Go Drive”, and remember that “One Text Or Call Could Wreck It All”.

“Distracted driving is an epidemic on America’s roadway, and we’re doing our part to help put an end to it,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. “Texting and cell phone use while driving is extremely dangerous, and we know simply getting drivers to turn their phones off when they get behind the wheel will make our roads significantly safer. Efforts like this one will help us put an end to distracted driving and we encourage your support of this program to help save lives in your community.”

For more information about distracted driving, please visit www.distraction.gov, or you can contact Officer Brad Purdom with the Newport Police department at 541-265-4849 or b.purdom@newportpolice.net.

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