By Annette Christie
State Police reminds residents: Get your Head out of Your APP
Distracted drivers are a danger not only to themselves, but to everyone else on the road. The Michigan State Police is reminding motorists to “Get Your Head Out of Your App” and focus solely on driving when behind the wheel.
The public awareness campaign uses that phrase to emphasize the importance of keeping your attention on the road while driving. Information is being shared on Facebook and Twitter using #JustDrive and #DistractedDriving.
Distracted driving is any activity, including using a cell phone, eating or changing radio stations, that diverts attention away from the primary task of driving. The number of people killed in distracted driving crashes in Michigan doubled from 2014 to 2015. During 2015, there were 28 fatalities involving distracted driving.
Tips to help decrease distracted driving includes: Secure items that may move around when the car is in motion. Do not reach down or behind the seat to pick up items; ask a passenger to help with activities that may be distracting; and if driving long distances, schedule regular stops, every 100 miles or two hours.
A recent survey conducted for the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning shows nearly one in five young adult drivers consider themselves addicted to their cell phone. More than 40 percent admitted to regularly sending texts and emails while driving.
Texting and driving is one of the most dangerous distractions because it involves taking your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving. As of July 1, 2010, Michigan law prohibits texting while driving. For a first offense, motorists are fined $100. Subsequent offenses cost $200.
Statewide decrease in holiday traffic fatalities
Results of preliminary reports by the Michigan State Police indicate six people lost their lives in six separate traffic crashes during the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This is a decrease from 11 deaths that occurred in 11 traffic crashes during the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
“While these numbers are preliminary, they show a significant decrease in fatalities from this same holiday period last year,” stated Capt. Thomas Deasy, commander of the MSP Training Division. “As we continue into the holiday season, the MSP urges motorists to drive safely, wear property restraints, and avoid drinking and driving.”
The 2016 Thanksgiving holiday weekend ran from 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 23 to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 27, 2016.
As part of Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), MSP troopers conducted high-visibility enforcement focusing on impaired driving, seat belt use, careless driving and speeding.
Operation C.A.R.E. is a nationwide initiative aimed at reducing traffic crashes and fatalities on highways across the country. It began in 1977 as a collaborative effort between the MSP and the Indiana State Police. Today Operation C.A.R.E. is one of the nation’s longest running traffic safety initiatives and includes state and highway patrol agencies from all 50 states, as well as some American territories and Canadian provinces.