Several state agencies in Oklahoma, including the insurance department, are working together on an initiative to curtail distracted driving among teenagers.
Oklahoma law bans texting and driving but despite that, there’s evidence that young drivers in the state are the most likely to be distracted leading up to a crash.
Now, the Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID), the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) and the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) are launching the #JustDriveOK campaign, which asks teens to take a pledge to not drive distracted.
According to data compiled by OHSO on distracted driving in the state in 2017:
- Drivers aged 16-25 were the most likely to be distracted leading up to collision.
- Last year, a total of 3,291 drivers aged 16-25 were distracted when involved in a crash.
- The next highest age group represented was 26-35, with 2,028 drivers distracted leading up to a crash.
- Severity of injuries and the possibility of fatalities go up when distracted driving occurs within one of Oklahoma’s highway work zones. In the past five years, 75 people, including four ODOT workers, were killed in work zone crashes.
“The #JustDriveOK campaign and pledge is focused on reinforcing appropriate driving behaviors for our youngest and most inexperienced drivers,” said Tim Gatz, OTA Executive Director. “Still, it is increasingly important for us, as young adults, parents and grandparents, to set safe driving examples for our young people by putting away distractions ourselves, practicing safe driving habits and always buckling our seatbelts.”
Some of the activities of the #JustDriveOK campaign include:
- Recognition of the #JustDriveOK campaign at the Oklahoma Transportation Commission meeting – Monday, Sept. 10, at 11 a.m. at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, 200 N.E. 21st St., Oklahoma City
- Overhead electronic messaging on interstates as part of ODOT’s Work Zone Wednesday safety messaging program — Sept. 12
- #JustDriveOK representatives at high school football games around the state through October.
- Outreach to high school students attending the 17th annual Construction Career Day — Sept. 21
Students can take the pledge at justdrive.oid.ok.gov. Educators and parents can also find resources on the site like a teen driver contract and a list of apps to fight distracted driving.
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