Whether you are driving across the country or just across town for the holidays, Sprint (NYSE:S) urges you to keep this in mind: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2008 distracted driving was responsible for 16 percent of all traffic fatalities and 21 percent of all traffic injury accidents.
While there are a host of things that can contribute to driver distraction including eating, adjusting the radio, or merely taking in the scenery, Sprint is particularly concerned with the disturbing trend of texting while driving. To set an example for its customers, Sprint recently launched a campaign aimed at employees asking them to voluntarily pledge not to text or email while driving.
As employees of a mobile telecommunications company, we want to set an example for our customers, families, and friends by staying focused on the road,” said Sandy Price, senior vice president of Human Resources for Sprint.
Distracted driving is a serious issue in the United States.
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving kills 5,800 Americans and injures another 515,000 people each year.
- Distraction from cell phone use while driving (hand-held or hands-free) extends a driver’s reaction as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (University of Utah)
- Driver distraction was involved in 16 percent of all fatal crashes in 2008 and was most prevalent among drivers 20 years old and younger (U.S. Department of Transportation)
- The No. 1 source of driver inattention is use of a wireless device. (Virginia Tech/NHTSA)
- Drivers who use cell phones are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (NHTSA, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
Along with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Transportation (DOT), Sprint will take an active role in workshops designed to uncover the best ways to evaluate technologies that might help curb the dangerous epidemic of distracted driving and to educate consumers about the dangers of distracted driving.
The Sprint Employee “Don’t Drive Distracted” Pledge
Every Sprint employee is asked to do their part in reducing the number of distracted drivers on the road by making a voluntary commitment to drive responsibly by taking the “Don’t Drive Distracted” pledge.
The pledge reads as follows:
As an employee of a wireless provider, I will set a good example in my community and engage in safe driving practices in my personal life by avoiding risky behaviors like texting or e-mailing while I am operating a motor vehicle.
The pledge is voluntary and is aimed at employees driving their personal vehicles – whether for work or personal business. Sprint already has in place a policy that prohibits employees from texting or e-mailing while driving company-owned vehicles or their own vehicles while driving on company business.
Sprint Urges Passage of Legislation to Combat Driving While Texting
Sprint is not only urging its employees to take a stand against texting while driving, it is also asking the Congress to pass legislation to address this matter. Recently Sprint endorsed passage of S. 1938, Distracted Driving Prevention Act of 2009, which was introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey.
"Sprint supports legislation authored by Chairman Rockefeller and Senator Lautenberg to provide incentives to states to ban texting while driving,” said Vonya B. McCann, senior vice president of Government Affairs for Sprint. “The senators’ emphasis on improved driver education and additional funding for data collection and research is the best approach to address this issue. Distracted driving is dangerous; as research shows, texting while driving is extremely dangerous. We look forward to working with the senators and other lawmakers interested in taking this step."