Allstate and Spinners step up to the plate against distracted driving

Reality Rides® continues to raise awareness amid rising roadway fatalities

To help combat U.S. traffic fatalities that increased by 8 percent from 2014 to 2015i, Allstate’s Reality Rides®” made a pit-stop in Lowell on its 2016 national tour of 20 cities across America. Reality Rides—a distracted driving simulator that aims to prevent avoidable collisions—is in its fourth year rolling across the nation to build awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, and offers tips and information on how to be safer behind the wheel.

 

More than 3,000 deaths and 400,000 injuries occur every year due to distracted driving in Americaii. As recently as 2014, there were 328 fatalities as a result of car crashes in Massachusettsii. To help reduce these tragedies, Reality Rides was in Lowell, at the Spinners game on July 11.

 

On texting and driving, Sam Stern, Spinners employee, said “Don’t do it. It’s dangerous and it can take lives. Any text can wait and it’s not worth it because there’s too much going on when you’re driving. No matter how fast you’re going, you can’t always trust your reflexes. You’ve got to keep your eyes on the road.”

 

“It’s a good way to show people how dangerous [texting while driving] is and it’s probably a lot more dangerous than people realize,” said Lauren Witzgall, also an employee of the Spinners. “It’s really common and I think it’s a good thing to show people that you should be safe while driving, and that things you aren’t expecting can happen while driving.” When asked if she’ll think twice before texting while driving she says, “Definitely.”

 

A survey of more than 6,000 people who have experienced Reality Rides’ simulation shows that 67 percent learned more about distracted driving, and 82 percent found the program “fun and effective.”iv

 

The Reality Rides simulator program uses a real, but stationary, vehicle equipped with virtual reality technology to demonstrate the dangers of distracted driving in a safe environment. A curved LED screen place in front of the windshield displays an animated environment and reacts to the driver’s motions. Using the vehicle’s steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, the driver is tasked with navigating the road while also attempting to text and talk on the phone. Participants are given traffic “tickets” that reveal potential infractions a driver could receive if the experience happened in real life, and have the opportunity to take the Allstate X the TXT® pledge to not text and drive.

Jagger Rusconi and Tyler Hill, Spinners’ outfielders, not only participated in the Reality Rides distracted driving simulator, but also took the pledge to X the TXT and encouraged ballpark attendees to do the same.

 

More Driving; More Distractions:

Now is an especially important time to eliminate distractions, because Americans are driving more – leading to more than 38,000 roadway fatalities in 2015v, the highest number of deaths since 2008.

• According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Americans drove 3.14 trillion miles from November 2014 to November, 2015, an increase of more than 3 percent over the previous 12 months and the largest year-to-year increase in nearly 20 years (1997)vi.

• Car crashes are the No. 1 cause of death for Americans between 11 and 27, with teens crashing four times more often than any other age groupvii.

• Distracted driving is attributed to about 26 percent of all car collisionsv.

• Studies have shown drivers who text are 23 times more likely to crash, and texting while driving is the equivalent to driving while impaired by alcoholviii.
Provisions for Prevention:

Allstate continues to lead the conversation around ending distracted driving, an easily preventable cause of collisions, and ultimately reduce roadway fatalities.

• High-visibility cell phone and text messaging enforcement campaigns have been shown to reduce common distractions, and most motorists are in favor of themix.

• The Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety found that the annual economic cost due to motor vehicle crashes in Massachusetts is over $5.8 billion.iii

• Stronger teen driving laws, referred to as Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL), have been shown to reduce traffic fatalities by as much as 30 percent in the states where they were adoptedix.

• Research from The Allstate Foundation’s “License to Save” report found that comprehensive GDL laws could save an estimated 2,000 lives and $13.6 billion annuallyx.
Reality Rides Reveals:

A survey of Reality Rides participants from previous toursiv reveals that 67 percent learned something new about distracted driving, and 82 percent found the program “fun and effective.”

• The survey results reveal that participants understand how distracted driving is dangerous, yet many don’t make attempts to curb their behaviors.

• Sixty-three percent admit to talking on the phone and 46 percent admit to texting while driving at least “sometimes,” if not more.

• After experiencing Reality Rides, 59 percent said they would “never text and drive,” and another 32 percent said they would “think twice about texting while driving.”
Tips for Distraction-Free Driving:

Allstate provides drivers with helpful tips to prevent distracted driving before getting behind the wheel.

• Put your cell phone and other mobile devices out of reach to eliminate the desire to check them while driving.

• Plan ahead by inputting navigation directions and sending messages before leaving for your destination.

• Use caution when choosing to listen to loud music or engage with other passengers in your vehicle, which are often unintended distractions.

• Keep both hands on the steering wheel and don’t try to multi-task with other common distractions like eating or applying makeup.

 

To track the Allstate Reality Rides tour and see photos of participants, visit facebook.com/xthetxt. While there, check out information and resources, engage in the conversation and invite family and friends to take action in support of stronger teen driving laws.

 

 

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, protecting approximately 16 million households from life’s uncertainties through auto, home, life and other insurance offered through its Allstate, Esurance, Encompass and Answer Financial brand names. Allstate is widely known through the slogan “You’re In Good Hands With Allstate®.” The Allstate brand’s network of small businesses offers auto, home, life and retirement products and services to customers in the United States and Canada. In 2015, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate, its employees and agency owners gave $36 million to support local communities. Allstate employees and agency owners donated 250,000 hours of service across the country. 

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