Save lives – join our 2020 “Texts=Wrecks” campaign
GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys is expanding our annual “Texts=Wrecks” campaign this year to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers in Eastern Virginia.
Eighty percent of all Virginia vehicle accidents in 2018 were caused by drivers being distracted, either by their phones or otherwise, causing them to take their eyes off the road, according to Drive SMART Virginia. Further, 65 percent of all near-accidents – close calls that almost ended in collisions – were also caused by distracted driving.
Partner Ken Gibson said: “As personal injury attorneys, we regularly see clients who have been seriously hurt, or even have lost a loved one, because someone was driving while distracted. It’s a heartbreaking epidemic, and we want to help stop it.”
Partner John Singleton said: “That’s why we do our ‘Texts=Wrecks’ campaign each year. We remind people to stop distracted driving with our billboard and signage and by putting useful information on our website. We offer 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. And this year, we’ve added a contest for elementary students, in which three students will win a new bike for sharing their ideas about helping adults focus on driving.”
Gibson said: “We urge all Virginians to focus more on their driving. We invite parents of young drivers to use the agreement for safe driving on our website with their teens. And we encourage everyone to remember to watch out for other drivers who may be driving distracted.”
“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 in Gloucester to remind drivers that “Texts=Wrecks.” The firm also will place a wrecked car, along with a banner, in front of its office to alert people to drive more safely.
- The firm has posted an agreement card for teens, “Keys to Safe Driving,” based on guidelines from the CDC. Parents are encouraged to use it to 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 on gibsonsingleton.com, or in printed form by request.
- 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 13, 2020, and the winner will be announced on June 11.
- And this year, the firm is offering a writing and drawing contest for elementary students in Virginia as well. Students can submit a short essay, drawing, or ad/cartoon showing ways kids can help adults focus on driving. Three winners will be chosen – one each from K-1st, 2nd-3rd, and 4th-5th – to receive a new bike (approximate value of $120).
Tips for everyone
Gibson and Singleton urge all drivers to think about the lives that can be destroyed if you text while 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:
- Put your phone out of reach before you get on the road. If you can’t reach it, you can’t check it or answer if someone texts or calls you.
- Set your phone on silent or its “do not disturb” setting. Most phones have a silent function, meaning that they won’t ring or vibrate if someone texts or calls. This can help prevent you from getting the urge to check to see who wants to talk.
- Use an app to set your phone on auto-response. Many apps are available for free, and when activated, they will reply to text messages for you, informing the person trying to reach you that you are currently driving and can’t answer.
“Smartphone apps have proved to be incredibly useful in the fight to end distracted driving. There are countless to choose from, but we have a few favorites to share,” said Ken Gibson.
Our recommended apps to prevent distracted driving
The following are GibsonSingleton’s recommended apps to prevent distracted driving:
- AT&T DriveMode, freely available for Android and iPhones, can detect when you have started driving more than 15 miles per hour, and will automatically silence all incoming messages and calls. Parents of young drivers can even be alerted if the app is ever turned off.
- The Waze app monitors your speed, and it will audibly alert you when you are driving over the speed limit. This ensures that if you ever do become distracted and start speeding, you will be reminded to slow down.
- Also for those with young drivers, there’s LifeSaver. This parent-first app mutes all notifications once it senses that its user is driving. It will notify the parent if the phone is unlocked while in drive mode, and it can even send arrival notifications when the young driver reaches the destination.
Gibson added: “Regardless of which of these apps, strategies or combinations you choose, it’s important to be consistent, especially with children and teenagers. If they see you focusing on your driving, they are more likely to do the same one day, and that could save more lives.”
More about the “Texts=Wrecks” campaign, the safe driving agreement for teens, the college scholarship, and the elementary contest are available elsewhere on GibsonSingleton.com, or by contacting Beth Gibson, [email protected] or (804) 413-6777.
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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.