Trooper Robert Purdy stopped by last week to tell us about distracted driving awareness month!
Katie: welcome back here to Good Day Kentucky, I’m joined now by Trooper Robert Purdy with Kentucky State Police. We have another important topic to discuss today, April is distracted driving awareness month. Thank you for taking the time to come in and talk with us and our viewers today.
Robert Purdy: yeah, thanks for having us.
Katie: so I guess let’s start with the importance of this month, you had some pretty sobering statistics we were talking about in the break.
Robert Purdy: yeah. So anytime that somebody is driving distracted they’re three times more likely to be involved in a collision.
Robert Purdy: I think daily the average across the united states is nine people die as a result of distracted driving and so while those numbers sound … We put a number and a statistic out there but it doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot, but every single one of those people is someone’s son, daughter, mother, father, family member or best friend.
Katie: and you said it’s just heartbreaking seeing some of these accidents that maybe were caused by a distracted driver and then seeing the victim’s cell phones. Talk to us about that.
Robert Purdy: yeah, so I’ve been on the scene of collisions, one that really rings a bell. I think she was 20 or 21 years old and she died as a result of a collision. The entire time that I stood there and worked the accident, it was about an hour and a half, and her phone rang nonstop. And every time that it rang, on the screen it said, “Daddy. Daddy. Daddy.” and it’s just powerful because no family member, no parent, wants to lose a loved one, and unfortunately far too many people are losing their lives on Kentucky roadways.
Katie: and it really is heartbreaking to hear those stories but the upside is that these are preventable accidents. What is distracted driving, what is considered distracted driving?
Robert Purdy: yeah, so distracted driving is doing anything that takes your attention off the roadway.
Robert Purdy: there’s a number of different kind of distractions, you’ve got manual distractions, visual distractions, and cognitive distractions. So using a cellphone, it takes your hands off the wheel, it takes your eyes off the road, and oftentimes it takes your mind off of driving. We need to focus 100% on driving, and most collisions are preventable if somebody would just take the time and pay attention to what they’re actually doing.
Katie: and it’s something that we should voluntarily choose to do, but are legally obligated. Talk to us about the laws surrounding distracted driving, I know it changes at 18.
Robert Purdy: yeah. So distracted driving, we’ve got use of a electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. For anybody over the age of 18, you can’t be texting, Snapchatting, surfing the internet, things like that. In the state of Kentucky currently, you can talk on the phone. But if you’re under 18, there’s some restrictions in place that doesn’t allow anybody under the age of 18 to be using a cellphone for any reason, unless it’s an emergency, unless they’re dialing 911 basically.
I mean, just looking at a cellphone, if you’re driving down the interstate at 70 miles an hour and you take your eyes off the roadway for three seconds, it’s like traveling an entire football field blindfolded.
Robert Purdy: and so realistically it doesn’t take a whole lot of time for things to happen in front of you that you need to react and respond to, and that’s why we ask everybody to put their cellphones away.
Katie: really improvident information here. Remind us one more time about those statistics you told us about.
Robert Purdy: yeah, you’re three times more likely to be involved in a collision if you’re driving distracted. So put the cellphones away, limit the other distractions inside the car, there’s a lot more than just a cellphone. Changing the radio, maybe having too many people in the car, eating, all of those things take our eyes and our mind off of what we should be doing when we’re behind the wheel, and that’s driving.
Katie: and important to remember that you said three seconds, traveling about the length of a football field.
Robert Purdy: right.
Katie: yeah. Well we appreciate you coming in to talk to us today and we look forward to having you back here on the show.
Robert Purdy: yeah, thanks again.