Moms Can Lead the Drive to End Distracted Driving

Sam Thompson’s mother Lisa in this powerful video being shared by mothers as a warning to their loved ones about distracted driving

OLYMPIA –The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) today called on mothers to take the lead in modeling safe driving behavior for their children by not holding a mobile phone or texting while they are driving.

“All mothers want their children to be safe,” said Erika Mascorro, program manager for WTSC. “Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity for moms to pledge to put their phones away when they drive, so their kids will learn safe driving behavior. Moms can teach the next generation of drivers:  park your phone when you drive.”

WTSC conducted a statewide survey in March of women 16-34, and found that 96 percent agree that using a cell phone while driving is dangerous. Despite understanding the risk, the survey also found that:

  • 96 percent have their phones on while driving;
  • 48 percent read incoming text messages;
  • 34 percent send text messages; and,
  • 12 percent look at social media while behind the wheel.

The survey also showed that women would stop using their phone while driving to model good behavior for their children, with 89 percent saying that would motivate them to put away their phones.

“One of the justifications people give for using their phones while driving is that ‘everyone is doing it,’” said Mascorro. “Mothers can start changing that perception for their kids, by showing them that the safe way to drive is with the cell phone off and put away.”

“We know there are too many distracted drivers in Washington,” said Mascorro. “But driver distraction doesn’t stand a chance if moms focus on the issue.”

Distracted driving is dangerous:Mothers who have lost children in crashes caused by distracted driving have led efforts to raise awareness and strengthen distracted driving laws. In a moving video released by WTSC, Lisa Thompson, whose son Sam was killed while texting, shared her thoughts on learning that texting behind the wheel had led to her son’s death. This video is also helping moms reach out to their children about the dangers of distracted driving; many mothers are “tagging” their children and other loved ones on the video on Facebook, in a post that has been viewed more than 150,000 times.  Watch video:

  • Deaths from distracted driving increased 32 percent from 2014 to 2015 in Washington.
  • Drivers are three-to-four times more likely to be in a crash when talking on a phone.
  • Studies indicate that hands-free is not safer than hand-held use.

The legislature has passed a new distracted driving law that prohibits hand-held cell phone use while driving.

The phone survey of Washington residents was conducted by SurveyUSA from March 7-16, of women aged 16-34 in Washington state. The sample size was 1,000, of whom 847 were drivers.