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Traffic Talk: New drivers need a sense of responsibility

Don Gammill: Young people: Enjoy your summer break, but don't drive distracted, highway safety officials say.
by Don Gammill Published: June 10, 2013
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The safety administration says 11 percent of drivers ages 15 to 19 who were involved in a fatal crash reportedly were distracted at the time. In Oklahoma, the statistics show that distraction by use of electronic devices is a particular concern among young drivers.

In 2007 and 2008, the most current full figures available, drivers in the 16 to 25 age group were reported to be in crashes involving distraction by an electronic device more than drivers in the three age groups 26 to 35, 36 to 45 and 46 to 55 combined.

Distractions from other factors in 2007 and 2008 resulted in 4,320 drivers in the 16 to 25 age group being in crashes, higher than any other age group.

There were 10 fatal crashes in 2007 in Oklahoma involving a driver distracted by an electronic device; 13 in 2008. Keep in mind that most of the time, these were self-reported. The safety administration said “crash reports are done by law enforcement officers at the scene and do show when a driver is distracted by an electronic device or by other factors”.

By the way …

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, as part of the Decide to Drive campaign, developed a Wreck-Less Checklist that includes the following tips:

• Before starting your car, set your phone aside, put on sunglasses and other accessories, fasten your safety belt, move reading material out of reach, pre-load CDs or MP3 playlists and adjust radio volume level, enter an address in the navigation system, or review directions.

• Pull the car over in a safe area any time there is a distraction that needs your attention.

• Do not eat or drink, apply makeup, polish your nails, or change clothing while driving.

Those steps can help you avoid dangerous distractions.

Enjoy your week and drive safely.

by Don Gammill
General Assignment Editor and Columnist
Don Gammill is general assignment editor and columnist. A native of Ponca City, he graduated from Central State University (now the University of Central Oklahoma). While in college, he was a sports stringer for The Oklahoma City Times....
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