Saving Lives: Putting the Brakes on Distracted Driving
Commentary By DEWEY F. BARTLETT JR.
Mayor of Tulsa
Everywhere you go, people are talking on their cell phones while driving and oftentimes are not giving their full attention to the task at hand, which can lead to disastrous results.
Motor vehicle crashes are among the top 2 causes of injury death throughout a person’s lifetime and the No. 1 cause of work-related deaths. This is one of the reasons why the City of Tulsa has taken a preventative measure designed to stem the rise of distracted driving due to mobile devices while increasing the safety of city employees and Tulsa citizens.
Last month, City of Tulsa representatives and state and national safety council officials met with department heads to speak about the importance of the city’s leadership in addressing distracted driving. They also rolled out a new City of Tulsa Distracted Driving policy, which bans employees from using any mobile device, including hands-free cell phones, to reply to work emails, texts or calls while driving a work car or personal car in connection with City of Tulsa business.
Our Distract Driving Policy 966 became effective, May 1, 2015. It is an essential part of our effort to create a transformational safety culture for city employees and is necessary because…
• Statistics show that distracted driving is on the rise for everyone, including City of Tulsa employees. City vehicle collisions resulting from inattentive driving have doubled in seven years. Nationally, 21 percent of fatal, injury and property damage-only crashes in 2012 were likely attributed to talking on a cell phone.
• Of 5.6 million collisions reports in 2012, 1.2 million likely involved cell phones.
• Those who use hands-free phones are still at a high risk – they are four times more likely to be in a collision when using Bluetooth technology while driving their cars.
Under the direction of my administration, the City of Tulsa has implemented a successful safety culture transformation, and our organization is having successes – recordable injuries were reduced by 45 percent from 2012 through 2014, and they continue to trend downward.
The City of Tulsa is leading the way in safety and is now one of the few municipalities in the nation to have a comprehensive distracted driving policy. Please watch “The City of Tulsa Puts the Brakes On Distracted Driving” video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8GM-E2QKZw
I also encourage you and your family to follow the City of Tulsa’s lead and take steps to make your own vehicle a distracted-free zone, not only to save your own life but the lives of others.