ODOT begins Distracted Driver Simulator tour
April is National Distracted Driver Awareness Month
New Philadelphia, Ohio (Tuesday, April 16, 2013) – Beginning later this week, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 11 will present the Distracted Driver Simulator at safety events across eastern Ohio to observe and recognize National Distracted Driver Awareness Month.
The Distracted Driver Simulator Tour is part of ODOT’s comprehensive roadway safety campaign, “Every Move You Make, Keep It Safe” which provides Ohioans with information on how to use the roads safely – whether they get around on foot, by vehicle, motorcycle or bicycle.
The computer-generated simulation setup includes a steering wheel, turn indicators, gas and brake pedals. After taking a seat and buckling up, the driver takes the wheel and must drive with distractions or impaired abilities, such as those caused by drug or alcohol use. In the distracted driver scenario, the participant receives a phone call, sends a text message and listens to passenger conversations while navigating roadways. In either scenario, it doesn’t take long before the driver makes an error and is involved in a crash that results in realistic simulated interactions with police, medical staff, and a judge.
Distracted Driving is an epidemic on America’s roadways. ODOT District 11 Deputy Director Lloyd MacAdam said, “Every day, drivers swerve, stop at green lights or run through stop signs, because their eyes and minds are on their phones instead of the road. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for about five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field blind. It’s very dangerous and against the law. You could pay a fine, lose your license, lose your life… or take someone else’s life.”
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group also has the largest proportion of drivers who are distracted; therefore, ODOT District 11 will target area teens with the Distracted Driver Simulator and this message over the next two weeks at the following schools and events (photo ops will be available):
· April 18, Tusky Valley High School – 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
· April 23, Indian Valley High School – 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
· April 24, Tuscarawas County Teen Driving Rodeo (Fairgrounds) – 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
· April 25, Union Local High School – 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
· April 26, Carrollton High School – 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
In 2011, there were nearly 300,000 crashes in Ohio – over 1,000 people were killed, and 108,252 people were injured. Safety is ODOT’s number one priority. Ohio’s goal is to reduce roadway fatalities five percent by 2015 – saving 150 lives. Many of today’s crashes could be prevented through increased safety awareness and safer driving practices.
Ohio’s highways are essential to keeping and creating new jobs. With a mission to provide easy movement of people and goods from place to place, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is responsible for maintaining one of the largest transportation networks in the nation. Guided by ethical principles and accountability, ODOT works to improve safety, enhance travel and advance economic development. As a $2.8 billion enterprise, the department wisely invests in its core services of snow and ice removal, annual construction program and highway maintenance operations.
For more information, contact:
Becky Giauque \Jee-awg\, Public Information Officer, at (330) 308-3949
Lauren Holdsworth, Public Information Specialist, at (330) 308-7817
or email D11.PIO@dot.state.oh.us