Kent State Police Encourage Students to Wait2TXT
Did you know that if you are driving and have a passenger, are eating or drinking and send a text, your chances of crashing increase by 1,139 percent?
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and Kent State University Police Services has brought the Wait2TXT campaign to the Kent Campus. This campaign targets both distracted driving and distracted walking to raise awareness and foster safe driving behaviors on campus, in Kent and beyond.
An event earlier this month at the Kent Student Center brought together representatives from Kent State Police Services, Kent City Police Department, AAA and Portage County Safe Communities to share the message: Don’t text and drive, and don’t text and walk.
Kent State Police Officer Tricia Knoles has been an advocate for reducing texting and driving in Kent.
“We started when the students came back on April 2,” Officer Knoles says. “Over the next two weeks, we are sporadically going to be standing at different crosswalk areas, and if people are crossing the road correctly, they will get a coupon for various dining halls or a cup of coffee. Tree City Coffee is also sponsoring us with some coupons to hand out at these events.”
There are other initiatives with local businesses to help increase awareness.
“Five local pizza shops in the city of Kent will also have flyers on their boxes with statistics about pedestrian safety and distracted driving,” Officer Knoles says. “Cafes on campus and Tree City will have coffee-cup sleeves that say either ‘Stay Alive Don’t Text’ or ‘Wait2TXT.’”
National statistics of distracted driving show a rise; and last semester, Kent also experienced rising distracted driving incidents.
“The president of Main Street Kent brought up the event at a local town meeting,” Officer Knoles says. “She witnessed an accident in the city of Kent. It was impactful to see something like that happen. We need to do something. We were already in the process of doing that, and we decided to expand and collaborate with our city and community partners who wanted to be involved.”
The campaign will relaunch in the fall when students return to campus.
“We like to keep our campus and our community safe; it is a very important thing,” Officer Knoles says. “If we’re seeing a rise in this accident type, then we want to do something to try to raise awareness or prevent these things.
Portage County Safe Communities and AAA also had tables set up at the event, showing different statistics and sharing information with students. Portage County Safe Communities had a probability wheel with statistics that showed the increase in percentage when adding in distractions while driving. For example, if you are typing a text message for five seconds while traveling at 55 mph, in the length of time it took to send that text, you have already traveled the distance of a football field.
These statistics are meant to give perspective on how dangerous distracted driving is and how important it is to practice safe driving habits. As Officer Knoles says, “The texting can wait.”