One Second Of Distracted Driving Can Change A Life Forever
“As an auto insurance provider, stressing the importance of safe driving is fundamental. Just one second of not paying attention is all it takes to change a life forever,” began Mike Peters, Vice President Commercial Lines, First Chicago Insurance Company (FCIC).
“The National Safety Council has dedicated the months of April, May, and June to promoting safe driving principles. FCIC will be supporting their efforts by helping to spread awareness and promote the importance of safe driving to our insureds and employees alike. The more safe driving principles are emphasized, the more each of us will begin to become aware of our own actions and hopefully embrace the messages behind safe driving.”
FCIC will be promoting three important tips during its campaign.
Tip #1 No cell phone use or texting while driving; no exceptions!
It is a fact technology, which helps drivers to multitask, is about convenience not safety. According to the National Safety Council, more than 3,000 people in the United States are killed each year in distracted driving accidents. Many distractions exist while driving. Cell phones are the number one distraction, as many drivers tend to use cell phones for long periods of time. Many states ban handheld cell phone usage altogether driving. A citation can be issued in states where bans exist. Research indicates that drivers using handheld and hand-free cell phones only see about 50% of all that occurs in their driving environment. This phenomenon is called “inattention blindness” and can lead to drivers missing items such as stop signs and even pedestrians.
FCIC encourages drivers to consider installing cell phone blocking apps and devices to help them stay focused when driving. These apps can prevent drivers from making or accepting calls; texting or accessing the Internet while the vehicle is in motion. This technology can be effective for parents of teen drivers and even employers.
Peters added, “FCIC feels no cell phone use or texting while driving is such an important message, that we are asking our employees to take a no cell phone usage while driving challenge on Friday, May 25th. This is the Friday before the extended Memorial Day holiday weekend wherein so many families and teens take extended trips in celebration of the start of summer. We are also encouraging our employees to extend this challenge to their families stressing the importance of no cell phone usage whatsoever while driving. FCIC is committed to the elimination of preventable accidents by raising awareness of the potential dangers of any type of cell phone usage when behind the wheel.”
Tip #2 Promote safety practices for teen drivers.
May has been designated as Youth Traffic Safety month. This campaign gets under way each year during a high-risk time for young drivers: prom, graduation, and summer driving. The National Safety Council reports that 50% of teen drivers will be involved in a traffic accident before graduating high school. However, parents can help decrease the chances of their teen being involved in an accident by practicing with their young driver, stressing safety and demonstrating the importance of no talking or texting while driving. Of equal importance is enforcing a no drinking and driving precedent.
Teens are often involved in an accident because they are inexperienced drivers. They struggle with night driving, judging gaps in traffic, and driving the right speeds for conditions. In addition, peers, music and other outside stimuli easily distract teens. It is important for parents to continue to teach their young drivers beyond the time they get their drivers license.
Tip #3 Take part in emergency preparedness.
FCIC encourages consumers to make at least one change to improve safety. Areas of focus would be weather related emergency safety plan, fire evacuation, safe driving practices, or acquiring skills in CPR and first aide. Consumers who use child safety seats should consider having them inspected for free at participating fire stations. In order to provide child safety during an accident, the seats must be installed properly.
“FCIC will utilize the companies social media platform to promote the safety campaign. Additionally, this valuable message will be promoted to FCIC employees through the employee newsletter,” added Peters. “Implementing a strict rule of no talking or texting while driving starts by first adhering to the policy yourself. It is not easy, but really is a lifesaving decision. The biggest misconception is that it is unsafe for others to talk on the phone or text while driving, but it is ok for me. That mindset has to change,” remarked Peters.
First Chicago Insurance Company, whose roots trace back to 1920, provides auto insurance, both personal and commercial, workers compensation, and other niche insurance products such as Contents Plus Renters and Transportation Network Coverage. The company was initially started as a mutual insurance company by a local ice company to solve their issue of finding a good insurance products for their companies, who at the time were cutting ice blocks out of Lake Michigan for commercial delivery throughout the city of Chicago. Today FCIC offers insurance via independent agencies and the Internet throughout Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, and Louisiana.