FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Major Lafayette Woods, Jr.
Operation Commander/Public Information Officer
JEFFERSON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE PARTNERS WITH AT&T TO PROMOTE “DON’T TEXT WHILE DRIVING” CAMPAIGN: Jefferson County, Arkansas – Monday, March 24, 2013 – The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is very proud to announce its partnership with AT&T to bring awareness to and promote the “Don’t Text While Driving” Campaign and AT&T’s “It Can Wait” texting and driving campaign. The purpose of the two campaigns that seem to mirror each other is to focus on educating the public, especially teens on the dangers of texting and driving.
On Friday, April 4, 2014 beginning at 9:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M. the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office along with representatives of AT&T will visit with Pine Bluff High School (PBHS) students in the gymnasium located at 711 W. 11th Avenue in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where students will be able to pledge their support for the campaign and experience the dangerous effects of texting while driving by participating in AT&T’s Texting While Driving Chair Simulator. Friday, April 4, 2014 will be AT&T’s first visit to Arkansas with the simulator, where students will experience a 3-D driving simulation involving a “city” of approximately 8 blocks and realistic texts that appear on the smartphone accompanying the chair. This re-creates the eyes-off-the-road and hand-off-the-wheel experience of texting while driving. The simulator comes fully staffed and events can last anywhere from 3-6 hours, with each student taking approximately 1-3 minutes behind the wheel.
During their visit to PBHS, the documentary “From One Second to the Next” will be shown to students as it is both a powerful reminder of the consequences of texting while driving as well as a way to occupy students while they wait to get behind the wheel. AT&T has found that students take the simulator much more seriously after viewing the documentary. The full version of the documentary is approximately 30 minutes and can be viewed below.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the number of people killed in distraction-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. An estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver; this was a nine percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011.
In Arkansas, pursuant to the Arkansas Uniform Commercial Driver License Act § 27-23-130 - Prohibition against texting, "driving" is defined as a means operating a commercial motor vehicle with the motor running, including while temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or another momentary delay. Under the above Act, "driving" does not include operating a commercial motor vehicle with or without the motor running when the driver moves the vehicle to the side of, or off, a highway, as defined in 49 C.F.R. § 390.5, as in effect on January 1, 2011, and halts in a location in which the vehicle can safely remain stationary.
The Act prohibits the driver of a commercial motor vehicle from engaging in texting while driving; however, allows texting while driving by a driver of a commercial motor vehicle when necessary to communicate with a law enforcement official or other emergency service.
It further states that a motor carrier shall not allow or require the motor carrier's drivers to engage in texting while driving. A person who pleads guilty or nolo contendere to or is found guilty of violating this section commits a violation, which is punishable by a fine not to exceed one hundred dollars ($100) if the violation is defined by the Arkansas Criminal Code or defined by a statute enacted subsequent to January 1, 1976, that does not prescribe a different limitation on the amount of the fine.
According to statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the number of people killed in distractive-affected crashes decreased slightly from 3,360 in 2011 to 3,328 in 2012. An estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver; this was a nine percent increase from the estimated 387,000 people injured in 2011. As of December 2012, 171.3 billion text messages were sent in the US (includes PR, the Territories, and Guam) every month. 11% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashed were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted.
Who: Members of the media are invited
What: Texting While Driving Chair Simulator
When: Friday, April 4, 2014 @ 9:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M.
Where: Pine Bluff High School (PBHS) Gymnasium located at 711 W. 11th Avenue in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
How: Through a partnership between the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and At&t