“When you choose to drive, you choose to focus on the road,” said Juergen Barbusca, Manager of Communications, Cox Communications-Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, not focusing on the road is a nationwide problem with fatal consequences. The National Safety Council reports that drivers using their cell phones while behind the wheel leads to 1.6 million crashes every year.
“We’re hoping the iChoose to Drive Campaign can result in better behaviors behind the wheel,” Barbusca said.
Admit it, you’ve reached for a CD, eaten a burger, messed with the radio, dialed a number or texted while driving. Your eyes have been everywhere except on the road. Here’s another startling fact from the CDC: A driver going 55 mph while sending or reading a text is fully distracted for about 5 seconds. That’s the same as driving the length of a football field with your eyes shut.
In Nevada, there are more than 3,500 distracted-related crashes every year. Sadly, 10% of fatal crashes involved a distracted driver, teenagers being the largest age group of fatal crashes due to distracted driving. Last year’s “iChoose To Drive” winners focused on the fact that 11 teenagers die every day due to distracted driving. You can see their video, “Numbers,” here.
“Numbers” served as the basis for a 30-second Public Service Announcement (PSA) on distracted driving that aired on dozens of Cox cable channels in Southern Nevada in June 2016. It’s educational value was so impactful that the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles is showing “Numbers” on its public-facing Motor Vehicle Network screens in waiting areas at 12 of its locations throughout Nevada.
These heartbreaking statistics are what inspired Cox Communications to create the, “iChoose To Drive – A Cox Safe Driving Campaign,” five years ago. The campaign invites Clark County teenagers, ages 13-18, to create a video PSA about the dangers of distracted driving. The prize is $1000 cash for the winner and an additional $1000 for the winner’s school.
“The message is for all drivers, not just young drivers,” Barbusca said. “Young drivers, however, have less experience, so they are more susceptible to the dangers of driving. Add in distracted driving, like texting or talking on the phone, and the accidents increase dramatically.”
Findlay Automotive Group has sponsored the event since the program’s inception. Tyler Corder, Chief Financial Officer – Findlay Automotive Group, said the program has gained momentum every year.
“These young drivers are much more likely to pay attention to the message when they hear it through videos created by fellow teens,” said Corder. “We may never know the full impact of the program, but we’re hopeful that it has helped prevent at least one accident. If so, then it has been a very valuable endeavor.
Businesses that would like to be part of the campaign can email iChooseToDrive@gmail.com.
“iChoose To Drive” finalists have been announced and can be viewed at www.ichoosetodrive.com. Visitors to the site can vote on their favorite video.