2017-09-08 / News Update

Distracted driving campaign runs throughout September

BY PROVOST MARSHAL OFFICE

Fort Gordon Law Enforcement in conjunction with the Georgia Highway Patrol began the “Don’t Text and Drive in Georgia” campaign Sept. 1 to the 14. Fort Gordon Law Enforcement Military and Department of the Army Civilian Police have written 271 citations for “Use of cell phone while driving” for Fiscal Year 2017.

Texting while driving is the most alarming and distracting not only to teens but now to the older population. The individuals who text while driving on average take their eyes off the road for about 5 seconds. Imagine driving 55 miles per hour and not looking at the road for those 5 seconds it would be the equivalent of driving and entire football field.

If you think you need to answer your cell phone or reply to that text while you are driving on Fort Gordon, you better think again.

Fort Gordon police officers are increasing their vigilance for dangerous driver behavior and using cell phones while behind the wheel is a major safety risk. Violators can be cited by traffic officers. People who text while driving are almost 24 times more likely to get into an accident, according to researchers from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Teen drivers are four times more likely than adults to get into car crashes or near-crash events directly related to talking on a cell phone or texting; a car driver dialing a cell phone is 2.8 times more likely to get into a crash than a non-distracted driver; a driver reaching for a cell phone or any other electronic device is 1.4 times more likely to experience a car crash.

Fort Gordon Police Chief Willie McClinton, with the Directorate of Emergency Services, said that is why drivers should never use their cell phones, whether for talking or texting, while the vehicle is in motion.

“If it’s absolutely necessary, they need to pull off the road to a safe spot and park,” McClinton said.

According to estimates from the National

Highway Safety Administration, 16 percent of all fatal crashes in 2008 could be connected to distracted drivers. The NHSA also estimates that 5,870 drivers were killed last year and another 515,000 people injured in accidents involving distracted drivers.

There is an executive order banning federal employees from text messaging while driving a government vehicle or driving a privately owned vehicle while on government business. The use of a cell phone while driving is prohibited in 17 states, 18 states have banned texting while driving. The Fort Gordon policy on the use of cell phones while driving is aligned with that of the executive order from the president.

“Anything that distracts a driver from paying attention to the road can be dangerous,” he said.

“We discourage all forms of distracted driving, whether it’s talking on a phone, texting or eating a cheeseburger,” McClinton said. “Wait or pull over. When you’re driving, you should be driving.”

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