Itasca, IL – The U.S. Department of Transportation today released a new “Faces of Distracted Driving” video featuring Charlene Sligting-Doud, victim advocate for the National Safety Council. Sligting-Doud’s father, John Sligting, was killed June 13, 2007 when his motorcycle was cut off by a teen driver who blew through a stop sign while talking on her cell phone. Sligting-Doud urges drivers to make the commitment to drive cell free in honor of Father’s Day.
“My father was a hero to many,” said Sligting-Doud. “He served in the military, he was a firefighter and he was an amazing father. Losing him devastated my family. People need to put their cell phones down and focus on the task of driving. Don’t spend Father’s Day sharing memories – spend Father’s Day making memories.”
The National Safety Council estimates more than 100,000 crashes per year involve texting drivers. Another 21 percent – 1.2 million crashes – involve drivers distracted by their cell phones. Driving while using a cell phone requires the brain to multitask – a process it cannot do safely. Drivers focusing their attention on cell phone conversations instead of the road have a tendency to “look at” but not “see” up to 50 percent of the driving environment – missing critical information such as stop signs, red lights and pedestrians.
“John Sligting was a beloved father and grandfather whose life was cut short because of distracted driving,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “I applaud Charlene for all of the work she is doing to raise awareness about this deadly epidemic, and I hope that everyone who hears about the loss of her father will remember to keep their eyes on the road, their hands on the wheel, and their focus on driving this Father’s Day weekend.”
Charlene Sligting-Doud manages the HEARTS Network at the National Safety Council. HEARTS, which stands for Honoring Everyone Affected, Rallying the Survivors, shares the stories of those whose lives have been changed by crashes involving teen drivers. Anyone interested in learning more about HEARTS should visit, nsc.org/hearts.
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The National Safety Council (nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.