TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - WTOL 11 along with AAA, Cell Safety and Taylor Automotive Family kicked off the "Put Down the Phone, Make it Home" pledge campaign Monday aimed at putting an end to distracted driving. [Click here to sign the "Put Down the Phone Make it Home" pledge]
According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, 15 people are killed each day because of some sort of distracted driving. That equals to 5,500 people killed per year, of those deaths 1,000 are directly related to cell phone usage.
Ohio State Patrol Lt. John Altman warns of the dangers of distracted driving.
"Just paying attention, that's the difference. Just recognizing you're driving around in a 5,600 pound weapon," said Altman.
Altman says hands-free devices like car mounts, cell phone apps and blue tooths are not a great idea either because your attention is still divided.
In fact, authorities believe an accident on Airport Highway in Toledo last week that killed three people may have been caused by distracted driving.
Studies show that drivers under 20 maybe at the highest risk, but also that people of all ages drive while distracted behind the wheel.
Safety Kids Greater Toledo's Erin Whitton says there is no reason to drive distracted.
"Eating, drinking, talking with passengers, children who are in the car, there always can be distractions, but texting is the biggest one, it is 100 percent preventable," said Whitton.
There are three types of distraction while driving.
First, visual distractions involve taking your eyes off the road.
Additionally, manual distractions take place when someone physically takes their hands off the wheel.
Cognitive distractions occur when a driver takes their mind off what they are actually doing.
Officials say what makes texting one of the most dangerous behaviors is that it combines all three distraction types.
Instead of driving while on your cell phone Whitton urges drivers to pull over.
"Pull over to the side of the road, because you are putting your own life in danger, but you're also putting the other people on the road in danger, and that's not fair to them," said Whitton.
Copyright 2011 WTOL. All rights reserved.