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Women Team Up to End Distracted Driving After Death of Father

After losing her father in a distracted driving incident, a Massachusetts woman is now making it her mission to put an end to the selfish and costly choices drivers make behind the wheel.

The public service announcement brings to light the victims of both sides of this tragic story, beginning with a testimony by the driver of the vehicle Kate McGuire, 17, who killed Howard Stein while using her car’s GPS. Stein was pulled over on the side of the road checking a load of materials in his truck when McGuire veered into the breakdown lane and struck him. Stein was a father, husband, and soon to be grandfather.

“I wasn’t texting. I wasn’t using my cellphone, but I killed someone,” McGuire said in the PSA.

Stein’s daughter is also seen in the PSA, calling the death of her father and distracted driving incidents in general “silly and so simply unnecessary.” Stein’s story is part of a National End Distracted Driving campaign which is led by Joel Feldman who lost his daughter in a distracted driving incident in 2009. The campaign calls for education of drivers and action by lawmakers to stiffen enforcement to ultimately help change drivers’ behavior.

DISTRACTED DRIVING STATISTICS
With the integration of technology into vehicles, seemingly more and more people are driving distracted. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving accidents account for 20% of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States. In 2012, more than 420,000 people were injured in accidents where a driver was distracted-a 9% increase from 2011. Additionally, 11% of drivers under age 20 who were victims of fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the accident. The NHTSA also reports that at any given moment, 660,000 drivers in America are using cell phones or an electronic device. Engaging in a visual distraction, such as texting, emailing, or manipulating a GPS increases the likelihood of a car accident by 3 times!

In addition to using technology behind the wheel, individuals may also be distracted in the car by:

• Eating and drinking • Talking to passengers • Daydreaming • Grooming • Reading, including maps • Adjusting the radio
Many states across the country have legislated laws that ban texting and adopted graduated licensing systems to prevent and raise awareness of distracted driving, yet the best way to decrease distracted driving accidents is for drivers to avoid distractions altogether. Remember that distracted driving accidents are almost 100% preventable. If you’re a parent with teenagers, speak to them about the dangers of distracted driving, and set a good example while you’re driving by not answering or using your cell phone, pulling over and putting your car into “Park” to use your GPS, and avoiding behavior that takes away your attention even the slightest bit.

Read the full original article on WCVB.com

Read the full statistics of distracted driving here.

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