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Auburn Hills Police Department is Urging Distracted Drivers to Remember: U Drive. U Text. U Pay.
U Drive. U Text. U Pay. Graphic

Driving? Put Down That Phone

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The Auburn Hills Police Department will be joining law enforcement agencies across the country to intensify enforcement of state texting and distracted-driving laws to raise awareness about the dangers, and legal implications of distracted driving. This annual campaign is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) national U Drive. U Text. U Pay. high-visibility enforcement effort that runs from April 8 to April 15, 2019.

Nearly 20,000 people have died in crashes involving a distracted driver between the years 2012-2017 according to NHTSA. In fact, there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017. This means that nearly one-tenth of all fatal crashes that year were reported as distraction-affected.

Over the years, millennials have become some of the biggest texting-while-driving offenders, also using their cell phones to talk and to scroll through social media while behind the wheel. According to NHTSA, young drivers 16 to 24-years-old have been observed using handheld electronic devices at higher rates than older drivers since 2007. In fact, in 2017, 8 percent of people killed in teen (15-19) driving crashes died when teen drivers were distracted at the times of the crashes. Female drivers are most at risk of being involved in a fatal crash involving a distracted driver.

“Every day we see drivers who haven’t gotten the message that using their cell phones while they drive is dangerous, and this behavior puts every other road user at risk,” said Chief Baker of the Auburn Hills Police Department. “We all know the dangers associated with distracted driving, yet we see it far too often. Whether it’s eating and drinking behind the wheel, using GPS, or using the cell phone, it’s all dangerous when you’re driving. We are determined to impress upon these drivers to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.”

Violating Michigan’s distracted-driving laws can be costly; a first offense citation is $100, while a second or subsequent offenses are $200.

An analysis by the American Automobile Association of 2009-2012 data found that while more than 80 percent of drivers believed it was completely unacceptable for a motorist to text behind the wheel, more than a third of those same drivers admitted to reading text messages while operating a motor vehicle themselves.

“People know texting and driving is dangerous and illegal, but they do it anyway, and it puts others at risk,” said Chief Baker. “This is fair warning to those deciding to continue this unsafe driving behavior. You will see increased law enforcement efforts as officers will be stopping and ticketing anyone who is caught texting and driving. We are not trying to rack up citations, we are trying to save lives. If you text and drive, you will pay.”

Drive Safe Every Trip

The Auburn Hills Police Department and NHTSA urge you to put your phone down when you get behind the wheel. If you need to text, then pull over and do not drive. If you’re driving, follow these steps for a phone-free experience:

  • If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it is safe to text.
  • Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
  • Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving.
  • Cell phone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone out of reach in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of the vehicle until you arrive at your destination.
Texting while driving is dangerous and illegal. Break the cycle. Remember: U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov

Agency Contact:
Chief Jeffrey Baker
Auburn Hills Police Department
Office: 248-364-6850
Email: jbaker@auburnhills.org