WHEREAS, 94% of drivers rate distracted driving as a very serious threat to their safety; texting while driving has the highest crash risk of all forms of distracted driving; drivers using a handheld device are four times more likely to cause a crash serious enough to cause injury; an estimated 1.6 million traffic crashes involve cell phone use each year; when using a phone while driving, whether handheld or hands-free, driver’s reactions are delayed as much as having a blood-alcohol level of 0.08%; and
WHEREAS, According to a 2015 study, in one year approximately 3,477 people were killed due to distracted driving, and half a million more were injured; in that same study, it was found that when accidents resulting from distracted driving occurred, 10% were fatal and more than 10% caused injury, and in one year, accidents or near misses caused by distracted drivers affected 78% of Americans, both adults and students; and
WHEREAS, More than 40 states have enacted laws regarding drivers using a cell phone or texting while driving, only 20 states have enacted laws that prohibit bus drivers from using handheld devices while driving; and now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That NJPTA and its constituent associations support the adoption and enforcement of laws that restrict the manipulation of handheld and portable communication devices while driving; and be it further
RESOLVED, That NJPTA and its constituent associations collaborate with school districts, the state Department of Education, the state Department of Transportation, and other organizations to promote education and awareness of the dangers and consequences of distracted driving; and be it further
RESOLVED, That NJPTA and its constituent associations urge their members, adults, and students, to refrain from distracted driving and serve as a positive example for the safety of our youth.
Rationale - The number one cause of distracted driving is the use of handheld devices. In one year this has affected 1.6 million Americans. There are still states that do not have laws regarding distracted driving for the general driving population and as handheld electronic devices are more commonplace in our vehicles, the danger on our roads increases. Setting positive examples, increasing education, and encouraging the adoption of laws restricting the use of handheld and portable communication devices while driving will help to increase the safety of our youth.