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Tolling Points

July 4 Holiday Resolution: Don’t Text and Drive

By: 
Bill Cramer

Ask any tolling professional to name their top priority, and you’ll always get the same answer: Safety is always job number one. This July 4th holiday, IBTTA is asking its members, colleagues, contacts, and drivers everywhere to make a simple resolution: Don’t text and drive. Not ever. No exceptions.

You can use the text message function on your phone. You can certainly use your car. Just don’t use them at the same time. If the car is turned on and you’re behind the wheel, you should not be paying attention to anything on your phone. Not to texts. Not to incoming calls.

There’s no shortage of gory, heart-rending, or (mostly) humorous videos that make the case against distracted driving of any kind. A national holiday is a great time to relax and get out on the open road. But you can never relax your vigilance when the lives and safety of you, your loved ones and others on the road are at stake.

That’s why tolling agencies take every opportunity to speak up against distracted driving. And it explains why the North Texas Tollway Authority won IBTTA’s Toll Excellence Award for social responsibility in 2017 for its support for the Red Thumb Movement, an international effort to stem the deadly tide of texting while driving.

Since then, “NTTA’s Red Thumb program has continued to grow in strength, increasing its partners by more than 50% and distributing an additional 30,000 Red Thumb bands to drivers throughout North Texas,” the agency states. NTTA also supported a new state law that bans texting while driving.

“The Red Thumb program is a lighthearted way to talk about a serious subject,” said Executive Director Gerry Carrigan. “We’re asking our customers to be accountable to their family members by promising to never text while driving.”

Other IBTTA members have started public awareness campaigns such as The Ohio Turnpike and The Kansas Turnpike. Each reaching out to students and young drivers to educate and help save lives.

Before you set out for the holiday, please also make sure your tires are properly inflated. Pack an emergency kit, including flashlights, blankets, spare tire, and jack. Make sure you know your route. If you want to get there, safely and on time, use toll roads when they’re available to you.

But wherever your holiday driving takes you, keep your phone out of sight and out of mind while you’re behind the wheel. IBTTA really wants you safe!

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