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Driving blindfolded W


By Anne Prince, NRECA


ould you drive on a highway blindfolded? Of course not. However, if you text while driving 55 miles per hour on a highway, you are essenƟ ally doing just that.


Five seconds is the average Ɵ me your eyes are oī the road while texƟ ng. When traveling at 55mph, that's like


driving the length of a football ⇒ eld while blindfolded. Talking on a cell phone also carries signi⇒ cant risks. According to the NaƟ onal Safety Council, drivers can miss seeing up to half of what's around them – traĸ c lights, stop signs, pedestrians – when talking on a cell phone.


In our digital world, people feel pressure to remain in constant contact, even when behind the wheel. As mobile technology use increases, distracted driving – talking, texƟ ng, sending emails – is a growing threat to community safety. We have all seen distracted drivers, and most likely, we ourselves have used a phone while driving. Drivers don’t realize the dangers posed when they take their eyes oī the road and their hands oī the wheel and focus on acƟ viƟ es other than driving.


According to the Centers for Disease Control, each day in the U.S., more than nine people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. The NaƟ onal Highway AdministraƟ on notes that 3,154 people were killed and an esƟ mated


10 - NE Connection


424,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver in 2013.


TexƟ ng and cell phone use behind the wheel takes your eyes oī the road, your hands oī the wheel and your focus oī driving – puƫ ng the driver and others in danger, including passengers, pedestrians, other drivers and bystanders. On the tragic end of the spectrum, vicƟ ms’ families, friends, co- workers and community are impacted.


At Northeast Oklahoma Electric CooperaƟ ve, safety is a core value. At this Ɵ me of year in parƟ cular, when more people are on the roads and kids are out of school, our goal is to raise awareness and spur conversaƟ on about the dangers of distracted driving. Talking on a cell phone quadruples your risk of an accident, about the same as if you were driving drunk. Risk doubles again if you are texƟ ng while driving. We are commiƩ ed to eliminaƟ ng this unnecessary risk and believe that no conversaƟ on or text is worth the potenƟ al danger.


Help promote a culture of safety. We encourage everyone in northeast Oklahoma to join us and help keep our families, friends


and neighbors safer by puƫ ng their phones down and focusing on the road when they drive. Together, we can put the brakes on distracted driving. z


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