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GibsonSingleton seeks to reduce distracted driving with “Texts=Wrecks” campaign

By Beth Gibson on March 19, 2018

GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys has launched a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers in this area.

As background, 80 percent of crashes in Virginia are now tied to distracted driving, according to AAA. An average of 11 teenagers die each day as a result, and texting while driving causes nearly 330,000 injuries each year in the United States, according to the National Safety Council.

GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys partner Ken Gibson said: “As personal injury attorneys, we regularly see clients who have been seriously hurt, or even have lost a loved one, due to someone who was driving while distracted. It’s become a heartbreaking epidemic in Virginia, like everywhere else, and we want to help stop it.”

Partner John Singleton said: “That’s why we’ve launched our ‘Texts=Wrecks’ campaign. We’re reminding people to stop distracted driving with our billboard and signage, in presentations to local high school students, and with other tools on our website. We’re also offering a $1,000 college scholarship to a high school or college student who writes the winning essay about how young people can drive more safely.”

Gibson said: “We urge all Virginians to put down their phones while driving. We invite parents of young drivers to use the agreement for safe driving on our website with their teens. And we want everyone to remember to watch out for other drivers who are distracted: defensive driving also saves lives.”

Local attorneys John Singleton and Ken Gibson show their “Texts=Wrecks” banner and prepare for the presentations they will give to students at Mathews and Gloucester High Schools in March. They will present to students in Middlesex in April. The lawyers have launched a campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted and reckless drivers in this area.

“Texts=Wrecks” campaign highlights

GibsonSingleton is working on several fronts to encourage people to stop driving while distracted.

  • The firm is using its billboard on Route 17 to remind drivers that “Texts=Wrecks” throughout the spring. The firm plans to place a wrecked car, along with a banner, in front of its office to alert people to drive more safely.
  • Partners Ken Gibson and John Singleton are giving several presentations to local high school students promoting the “Texts=Wrecks” message. On March 26, the attorneys will present to 60 sophomores at Mathews High School, and on March 28, they will present to approximately 200 sophomores at Gloucester High.

They will use a distracted driving presentation that’s part of a nationwide campaign by End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org) and the American Association for Justice. The program was developed by Joel Feldman, an attorney in Philadelphia, after his 21-year-old daughter was killed by a distracted driver.

  • The GibsonSingleton attorneys are staging a mock “driving under the influence” (DUI) sentencing trial for Middlesex High School seniors on April 20. The trial will demonstrate what can happen when teens drink alcohol and drive. The attorneys are working with Middlesex County School Resource Officer Chris Gatling to stage this event.
  • The firm has created an agreement card for teens, “Keys to Safe Driving,” based on guidelines from the CDC. Parents are encouraged to use it make a contract with their teen drivers to obey the rules of the road, stay focused on driving, and follow laws about using drugs and alcohol. The card and other useful information are available at the bottom of this blog…keep reading!
  • Finally, the firm is offering a $1,000 college scholarship to a high school or college student who writes the winning essay about how young people can drive more safely. The deadline to apply is May 30, and the winner will be announced on July 3.

Tips for everyone

Ken Gibson and John Singleton urge all drivers to think about the lives that can be destroyed if you text while or drink alcohol before driving. Singleton said, “We know that simply making people aware of a problem doesn’t solve it. Most people know that picking up a cellphone while driving is a bad idea; and yet the statistics say we’re still doing it. So, we also want to provide strategies to help people develop the habit of never texting and driving.”

The firm’s recommended strategies include:

  1. Make your phone impossible to reach. Put your phone in the backseat, or somewhere completely out of reach. That way, you can’t reach it while driving even if you try.
  2. Silence your phone while you’re driving. This helps avoid the temptation if you get incoming messages or calls with alerts. Or you can put your phone on airplane mode so nothing can come through until you’ve stopped and changed the setting. Psychologically, either one can help you feel “offline” when driving.
  3. Stop and turn off your car before using your phone every time. Condition yourself to pull over safely or park and turn your car off every time, before allowing yourself to pick up your phone.

Gibson added: “Regardless of which of these strategies or combinations you choose, it’s important to be consistent in following them, especially in front of children and teenagers. If they see you taking ‘no texting and driving’ seriously, they are more likely to do the same one day, and that could save more lives.”

Download a pledge card for your teen driver!

As promised, here’s our Keys to Safe Driving agreement for teens that you can download and share. All you have to do is print it out, discuss what’s on it seriously with your teen drivers, have them sign the agreement, and keep a copy in their cars to remind them! As lawyers, we understand the value of putting things down on paper, and we’re sure this will help your teen make safe driving choices.

More information

More about the “Texts=Wrecks” campaign, other tips, and scholarship information are available at GibsonSingleton.com, or by contacting GibsonSingleton’s community outreach director, Beth Gibson, [email protected] or (804) 413-6777. The attorneys are available to speak to other local groups about avoiding distracted driving as well.

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Community service

Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.

  • Safety Education
    GibsonSingleton launches a “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
  • Annual Coat Drive
    During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
  • Hands-on Service
    John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
  • Supporting Local Schools
    The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.