Do You Drive Distracted?

Church Releases Videos to Promote Safe Driving

You probably know that multitasking while driving is hazardous to your health. But do you know how dangerous it really is? According to Traveler’s Insurance, a recent study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that manual-visual tasks associated with handheld devices, such as reaching for the phone or dialing, increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times. The study also reported that even hands-free devices involve manual-visual tasks at least half the time, which is associated with a greater crash risk. Did you know that texting increases the likelihood of an auto accident by 23 times, but even simple acts like eating can double your chances of crashing while you drive?

The Church has published a series of short, clever videos on its website safety.lds.org featuring common scenarios that contribute to distracted driving: eating, talking on the phone, jamming to music, and grooming.

“Why is the Church producing safety videos? Because we do a lot of activities in the Church, especially during the summer, and one of our goals is to promote safety,” said Alan Rogers, senior safety manager for the Church. “With the distracted driving videos, we hope to lessen the impact of auto accidents on the lives and families of those who participate in our activities.”

The distracted driving videos, like all of the videos on safety.lds.org, take a more positive approach for presenting important safety information.

“We recognize these are serious topics,” said Steven Brimley, a product manager in the Church’s Risk Management Division. “But we’ve found that people tend to remember and share important points if we present them with a more positive approach.”

Why the concern about distracted driving? 

In the U.S., the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) data shows that over 3,300 people were killed and more than 387,000 were injured in motor vehicle accidents connected to distracted driving. 

NHTSA statistics also show that in more than 10 percent of all fatal crashes with drivers 15 to 19 years old, they were distracted. That number jumps to 23 percent for drivers in their 20s. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year.

Take the pledge

“Laws only go so far to prevent distracted driving,” said Brother Rogers. In fact, the best protection comes from self-regulating, he said. “It’s got to be something you decide to do as an individual.”

Because of that, Brother Rogers encourages Church members to visit the NSC website and take the National Safety Council’s pledge to be an attentive driver, which says:

“I pledge to Just Drive for my own safety and for others with whom I share the roads. I choose to not drive distracted in any way—I will not:

  • Have a phone conversation—handheld, hands-free, or via Bluetooth.
  • Text or send Snapchats.
  • Use voice-to-text features in my vehicle’s dashboard system.
  • Update Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo, Vine, or other social media.
  • Check or send emails.
  • Take selfies or film videos.
  • Input destinations into GPS (while the vehicle is in motion).
  • Call or message someone else when I know they are driving.”

“We strive to keep our participants safe during any activity,” said Brother Rogers. “We want them to remember an activity for all of the right reasons—their testimony was strengthened, they made a new friend, they grew closer to their Heavenly Father, or they discovered a new hobby or skill—not because they were involved in a serious vehicle accident.”