Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office will partner with the Tennessee Highway Safety Office to promote the third annual “Thumbs Down to Texting and Driving” campaign during the month of April, said Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh.
April is nationally recognized as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Agencies participate in the campaign by promoting safe driving habits and increasing awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Throughout April, the THSO will use #ThumbsDownTN to promote the campaign via social media.
“We encourage everyone to refrain from texting while driving,” Fitzhugh said. “Taking your eyes off the road for even a moment can cause serious and even fatal crashes. If you have to check a text, just pull over and stop.”
Texting and driving in Tennessee can result in a $50 fine for a driver of any age. For young drivers who have Learner’s Permits or Intermediate Restricted licenses, cell phone use of any kind while driving is illegal.
Preliminary data reveals that in 2016, Tennessee experienced its highest number of known distracted-driving crashes at 24,743. These crashes resulted in the deaths of 58 people.
Across the state, approximately 28 individuals on average are injured each day in a crash caused by a distracted driver. Nearly 12 percent of all crashes statewide last year were caused by someone who was driving distracted.
“Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting,” said Vic Donoho, Director of the THSO. “At 55 miles per hour, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field. Every distracted-driving crash is preventable. We ask Tennesseans to stay focused while driving, because it could be a matter of life or death.”
For more information, or to learn more about texting and driving, visit http://www.tntrafficsafety.org/distracteddriving.
Cutline: Giving the #ThumbsDownTN to texting and driving are, from left, Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Keith Lowery, Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh and Deputy Chiefs Egon Grissom and Preble Acton.