MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Glancing at your phone while driving may seem innocent, but that simple decision could have a deadly outcome.
“Our men and women out on the streets are responding to these calls every day. They see these accidents and the see the hurt and the pain and the emotional toll it takes on the drivers,” said Matthew Tomek.
Tomek said texting and driving has gotten so bad, the Memphis Firefighters Association is launching a new program called ‘Justify It.’
The association will run PSAs and promote other awareness programs to deter people from picking up the phone while behind the wheel.
“Statistics show if you look at your phone, you’re going to be distracted for about five seconds, and that’s all it takes to cause a serious accident,” said Tomek.
If you text while driving, you are almost 25 percent more likely to get into a crash.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported last year alone well over a million people were in accidents because of texting and driving.
Tomek said you are six times more likely to get in an accident while texting, than driving drunk, “There’s probably more accidents caused by texting and driving than DUI.”
For now, it seems the State of Tennessee isn’t making the battle against texting and driving a top priority, though it is illegal in the state.
In an interview with News Channel 3 earlier this year, Public Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons said the state is more focused on seat belts and DUI, “It’s really impossible to tell if someone is texting, dialing a phone number or sending an email so it’s difficult to enforce.”
The Memphis Fire Fighters Association said the best tip is to put your phone away, so you aren’t even tempted to check it, or pull over if you need to send an important text.