Phones Down, Home Run: Why I took the pledge to encourage safe driving

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-The following post is sponsored by Transurban.-

It’s another regular Wednesday, and thankfully work is over for the day. That extra long meeting you were dreading was only kind of long, and none of your coworkers asked you about your plans for happy hour on Thursday. Sometimes, it's the little things.

You’re driving down 95 South, ready to kick your shoes off and curl up on the couch in your quiet space. Traffic is starting to move a bit, again. Finally. Your phone buzzes. You look down for a few seconds to see what your coworker was texting you about, hoping that it’s nothing annoying that will add more stress to your Thursday. What happened while you weren’t looking at the road, though?

Did the person in the car in front of you pump their brakes because traffic slowed down?

Did someone cut in front of you to get into the fast lane?

Did you veer slightly out of your lane in front of that huge truck?

You don’t know. You have no idea. That’s the issue. This is why I’m campaigning with Transurban, 495 and 95 Express Lanes, and Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals for Phones Down Home Run, a new initiative that encourages everyone to stop driving while distracted.

We kicked off the campaign at McLean High School in Northern Virginia on Wednesday, May 10th. A number of people with different backgrounds took the stage to offer different perspectives on why focusing on the road while driving is a non negotiable. Linda Watkins from Inova Trauma Services told us that trauma is the third leading cause of death in the United States, and that it is also the most preventable.

Two high school students, Mikaela Brooks from Youth of Virginia and Carenna Slotkoff from Sources of Strength Peer Leadership, were honest about the temptations they face to pick up their phones behind the wheel, but adamantly expressed that it is far more important for them and their fellow students to stay safe.

The event came to a close with a speech from Ryan Zimmerman himself. The baseball superstar reminded us that while an error during a baseball game can be frustrating, it’s not life altering. He went on to state, “if you text and drive, you don’t always get a second chance...just one call or text could mean game over.”

He’s right. A recent survey found that 70% of teens admit to using mobile apps while driving. Currently, six teens die every day on the road. 650 are injured every day. Almost 60% of teen accidents are linked to mobile phone usage. Do the math: teens cannot afford to drive while distracted. None of us can. Like it or not, as the adults who serve as role models for teenagers around us, we have to set the example - both for ourselves, and for them.

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We took the pledge. It's your turn!

Click here to sign.

After the event, Zimmerman told NBC Washington: “you don’t really realize the numbers until you sit down and read them. It’s pretty staggering the amount of accidents and tragedies that can be avoided just by not using your phone.” Don’t ignore the numbers. Don’t assume that you and the people in your life will be the exception to the rule. The texts, calls, and app notifications can wait. Your life is more important.

Visit right now to pledge your commitment to ending driving while distracted.

Full Disclosure: this blog post was sponsored by Transurban. All opinions in this post are my own. I completely support the need to encourage safe driving within the Northern Virginia region, and worldwide.