The Mid-Atlantic chapter of AAA has launched a campaign to combat distracted driving, and local gas stations will soon play a part. The campaign seeks to educate drivers on the severity of distracted driving, specifically to note that distracted driving is just as serious as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. As part of the effort, educational signs will be installed near gas pumps in Baltimore-area gas stations. The signs warn drivers, "Don't Drive Intoxicated, Don't Drive Intexticated." Ragina Ali, a representative from AAA Mid-Atlantic told a local news outlet that “Across the country, over 1,000 people are injured every day, and, on average, nine people lose their lives due to distracted driving.” This public education campaign seeks to remind drivers of the practice.
Other public education efforts elsewhere in the country are seeking to remind motorists of the dangers of distracted driving. On Tuesday, law enforcement officials in Manitowoc, Wisconsin released incredibly disturbing video of an auto collision. The video shows a white SUV running a red light and a black car strikes it from the side mid-intersection, causing the SUV to flip over on its side, trapping all occupants inside. Citizens on the scene acted quickly to free the SUV occupants. Police did not say if anyone involved in the collision would be facing charges but emphasized that they were releasing the footage in order to show the public the dangers of distracted driving.
Also this week, a mother who was personally impacted by distracted driving has channeled her loss into an effort to try and save lives. Karin Zaltsman lost her 13-year-old daughter Emily in September 2017 in a distracted driving collision. Nearly two years after the loss of her daughter, Ms. Zaltsman is dedicated to helping educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving. She recently hosted an event in her Texas home that promoted the Safe 2 Save app. Safe 2 Save is a mobile app that allows users to earn points for each minute of safe driving (minutes they are in motion and not interacting with their mobile device). Users are able to accrue points and ultimately redeem them for good and services from various businesses. The app is currently only available to users in Texas. However, it quickly gained popularity, and boasts about 200,000 users, with a plan to expand nationwide.
Ms. Zaltsman hosted an event in which new app users get bonus points by including the code "EMILY" when signing up. In addition to the app sign-up incentive, she is planning a public education campaign in her neighborhood and across the city of San Antonio to keep the distracted driving message highly visible by placing signs near roadways. She is also planning social media campaigns to spread awareness of her daughter's death and the dangers of distracted driving.