The Oak Ridge Police Department is partnering with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) to promote the fourth annual Thumbs Down to Texting and Driving campaign during the month of April.
April is nationally recognized as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Agencies participate in the campaign by promoting safe driving habits and increasing awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Throughout April, the ORPD and THSO will use #ThumbsDownTN to promote the campaign via social media.
“Texting is one of the most dangerous things you can do behind the wheel, but it’s far from the only distraction we see on patrol,” Oak Ridge Police Officer Matthew Johnston explained. “Talking on the phone, reading email, checking social media notifications, eating, adjusting the radio, using the car’s built-in navigation system or the mapping apps on your phone – all of this takes the driver’s eyes off the road. Just a few seconds of distraction can have dire consequences.”
In 2017, there were 24,781 traffic crashes statewide where distracted driving was a contributing factor, according to the Tennessee Integrated Traffic Analysis Network (TITAN). Of those crashes, 120 were fatal.
“Texting and driving is a serious issue,” THSO Director Vic Donoho said. “The slightest distraction could lead to a fatal crash. We caution all drivers to remain focused and alert at all times. The THSO and law enforcement partners are cracking down on distracted driving in our shared mission to Drive to Zero Fatalities across Tennessee.”
For more information, or to learn more about texting and driving, visit www.tntrafficsafety.org/distracteddriving.