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Office of Highway Safety says 'Nix the Text' during Distracted Driving Month

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s Office of Highway Safety is using April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month to focus on texting while driving.

OHS is rolling out its 'Nix the Text' campaign, a social media program designed to build awareness of that aspect of distracted driving.

Delaware Office of Highway Safety’s Meghan Niddrie explains why texting is so dangerous.

“So distracted driving comes in many different forms. There are a lot of things that we can do behind the wheel that make us distracted. One of our biggest focuses is texting and cellphone use behind the wheel. There’s little distractions that might take your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road, and your mind off the task of driving, but texting does all three. ”

Niddrie says one tip for drivers is to recognize passengers as the “designated texter”.

“Passengers can also be a distraction, so it’s important to be an alert and safe passenger. Offer to help your driver - be their ‘designated texter’ - answer phone calls, adjust the radio for them, help with the GPS and all those other things that might take the driver’s eyes off the road.”

OHS also urges drivers to stay off the phone while driving by activating a phone’s “Do Not Disturb” feature, or putting the phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat until reaching a destination.

OHS also recommends taking care of any text messages or phone calls before hitting the road. If taking a call or responding to a text is necessary, pull over where it is safe and park before doing so.

And OHS says you should not engage in social media scrolling or watching videos while driving.

Data shows that in Delaware, between 2019 and 2023, there were 9,569 crashes, 174 serious injuries, and 22 fatalities involving distracted driving.

In addition to the texting awareness effort, OHS and local and state law enforcement are conducting a high visibility enforcement of distracted driving during April.

OHS has also developed a new module on the Arrive Alive DE website called “Nix the Text”.

Karl Lengel has worked in the lively arts as an actor, announcer, manager, director, administrator and teacher. In broadcast, he has accumulated three decades of on-air experience, most recently in New Orleans as WWNO’s anchor for NPR’s “All Things Considered” and a host for the broadcast/podcast “Louisiana Considered”.