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JEFFERSON CITY – Some lucky person will get an extra Christmas present as part of an awareness campaign to discourage distracted driving across the state. The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety has teamed with up with KRCG-TV and Joe Machens Ford to sponsor “Focus on the Road” which includes a chance to win a new 2012 Ford Focus.
To enter the drawing, visit our “Focus on the Road MO” fan page on Facebook before midnight on Dec. 14. The drawing is open to all licensed Missouri drivers. Employees and family of KRCG-TV, Joe Machens and MoDOT are ineligible. The winner will be announced on Monday, December 19 when 13 finalists will try their key in the new car to find the winner.
Each day, distracted driving causes nearly 8,000 crashes nationwide. In 2009, a total of 5,474 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers in the U.S. Driver distractions include a wide range of activities from putting on makeup to tuning a radio, but the most common is using a cell phone. Recent research showed dialing a phone increases the risk of a crash by as much as six times, and people texting are 23 times more likely to be in a crash.
“No matter what your age, the most important task when you are behind the wheel is staying focused on driving safely,” said MoDOT Highway Safety Director Leanna Depue. “We’re hoping the chance of winning a brand new car will raise awareness for staying focused on the road, particularly among young drivers. Some of our younger drivers have never been in a car without a cell phone in hand, and many of them don’t realize the dangers of using it while driving. In just the few seconds it takes to dial a number, your car has traveled several hundred feet without your eyes on the road.”
Safety experts offer the following the following tips to stay focused on the road:
1. Don’t ever text and drive, or go online or read your e-mail while driving.
2. Turn your phone off or switch to silent mode before you get in the car.
3. Set up a special message to tell callers that you are driving or sign up for a service that offers this.
4. Pull over if you need to make or receive a call.
5. Ask a passenger to make the call for you if you need to reach someone.
6. Know the laws in your state before you get in the car. In Missouri, texting and driving can result in a $200 fine for drivers under age 22.
7. Review maps and directions before you start to drive. If you need help when you are driving, ask a passenger or pull over to a safe location.
8. Pets can be a distraction in the car. Make sure you secure your pets properly before you start to drive.
9. Kids can also be a distraction. Pull over if you need to address a problem with your children in the car.
10. Focus on driving and avoid any activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.