May 11th, 2017 was Red Thumb Day! Choteau Students in Teton County visited their community to help reduce traffic casualties by encouraging as many people as possible to stop using their mobile phones while driving. A lot of research shows that using a hand-held or hands-free mobile phone while driving is a significant distraction, and greatly increases the risk of the driver crashing. The purpose of painting on a “red thumb” is to remind the driver that they should not use their mobile device while behind the wheel.
Drivers who use a mobile phone whether hand-held or hands-free:
- are four times more likely to crash injuring or killing themselves and/or other people
- are much less aware of what’s happening on the road around them
- fail to see road signs
- fail to maintain proper lane position and steady speed
- are more likely to ‘tailgate’ the vehicle in front
- react more slowly and take longer to brake
- are more likely to enter unsafe gaps in traffic
- feel more stressed and frustrated
Hands-free phone devices do not significantly reduce the risks because the driver is mentally distracted and their attention is divided by taking part in a phone conversation at the same time as driving.
Visit Healthy Teton County’s facebook page here!
Learn more about the movement here!