Take the Pledge to Drive Phone Free, PG&E Asks

Cell_phone_use_while_driving

Driving with a phone. [Photo by Ed Brown from Wikicommons]

“There were 35 accidents in Humboldt County last year where the driver hit a PG&E pole,” according to PG&E spokesperson Deanna Contreras. “These accidents impacted service to 13,070 customers AND the driver could have been billed to replace that pole – up to $10,000….The biggest vehicle/  pole accident last year in Humboldt Co was on May 14 when a car hit a pole on Harris Street and it impacted service to 2,200 customers.”

Here’s a press release from PG&E discussing distracted driving:

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a member of the National Safety Council, is working to drive awareness of the dangers of distracted driving by encouraging the public to take the pledge to drive phone-free during Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April.

Technology allows us to make phone calls, dictate texts or emails and update social media while driving – all actions that are proven to increase crash risk. The National Safety Council observes April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to draw attention to this epidemic.

PG&E is doing its part to reduce the likelihood of motor vehicle accidents, joining other leading companies in prohibiting cell phone use while driving on company time. Employees must pull over to a safe and legal parking spot if they want to take or make a call, check email or text. Given that PG&E employees drove 151 million miles in 2016, this policy is a key example of the company’s commitment to help keep the roads safer for all drivers.

“Distracted driving kills thousands of people on our roadways every year,” said Kelly Nantel, vice president, National Safety Council. “We applaud employers like PG&E for being leaders and empowering employees to take control of their own safety behind the wheel.  During Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the National Safety Council hopes all employers will follow this lead and ask employees to disconnect and just drive.”

Drivers talking on cell phones – whether handheld or hands-free – fail to see 50 percent of their surroundings. Nonetheless, Americans continue to drive distracted and struggle to accurately assess risk. An NSC survey found that while two-thirds of drivers said another driver’s distraction has caused them to feel unsafe, just 25 percent feel their own distractions have put them or someone else at risk.  

More than 1,700 vehicle-caused incidents in 2016 caused power outages across PG&E’s 70,000-square-mile service area from Eureka to Bakersfield, impacting nearly 693,000 homes and businesses. And, it is estimated that 80% of all accidents involve some form of distracted driving. These outages can interrupt electric service to important facilities such as hospitals, schools and traffic lights. The average cost for replacing a utility pole damaged in a vehicle-caused incident was more than $10,000 this year.

“Distracted driving is one-hundred percent preventable. Unfortunately, it is also a serious public health threat and it compromises our ability to provide safe and reliable service to the communities that we serve. We share the same roads, and we encourage the public to join us and take the pledge to drive phone-free and also avoid other forms of distracted driving,” said John Higgins, vice president of Safety and Health, PG&E.

To learn more about the dangers of distracted driving and to take the pledge to drive phone-free, visit the National Safety Council Distracted Driving Awareness Month homepage at www.nsc.org/ddmonth.

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11 comments

  • I already drive phone-free. It has nothing to do with pledges, pg&e, or a special month. It’s called not being a fucking idiot. Sadly, the average humboldt resident doesn’t seem to care in any way about others…

    • sharpen your pencil

      Have you been out of the county? This isn’t an issue only facing Humboldt, it affects our whole country…… People are so addicted to their phones they can’t put them down….. For fuck sakes, a blue tooth set up costs less than 100 bucks, to use for important calls. What kills me is the dumbasses that hold their phones a foot from their face and stare at it while they talk! Had this dumb chick driving a new silver BMW swerving all over the safety corridor, was wondering if she was drunk, as she was doing 65 mph past me in the 50 I saw she had a tablet held firmly to the steering wheel, I got to the 65 and she had slowed down to 50, WTF IS WRONG WITH THESE LADIES! Don’t get me wrong I see guys driving while on their phones as well but the majority of the people I see are women under 40 on their phones/books/knitting (yes knitting) is ridiculous!

  • sharpen your pencil

    In addition, PUT YOUR DAMN PHONES DOWN AND INTERACT WITH YOUR CHILDREN, HELL MAYBE EVEN LEARN HOW TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITHOUT LOOKING AT YOUR PHONE A DOZEN TIMES! Have a nice weekend and don’t forget, PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN AND SPEND TIME WITH YOUR KIDS!

    • I agree! Put your damn phone down and live. I don’t understand why it is so important to be on the phone constantly. Are you just blabbing or does it make you feel connected and important. When I was taking drivers training in the 60’s you had your hands at 10 and 2. They didn’t even have a radio so you couldn’t be distracted. Many of the drivers these days can’t seem to drive and stay in their lane, even when they aren’t distracted. Watch your rear view mirrors if you drive the speed limit , as you’ll have to move over. They will clip you from the rear while they are using their phones.

      I have a niece in her 30’s that takes her phone with her when the family takes a hike. I have seen her almost walk into redwood trees, she is so focused on her phone. This generation seems to only be interested in the sport of eye and finger exercises.

      Yeah, make it a $500 ticket and confiscate their weapons. I bet the word would get out. You can always get people’s attention if you take money away from them.

      If you have to do something illegal, make sure you are only affecting yourself. Just put yourself at risk, not others!

  • Surprised? Google driverless car permits have been passed in Calif.
    Your road, pay taxes. Your car, pay taxes. Your energy fuel, pay taxes. Your control behind the wheel, get lost.

  • Honeydew Bridge C.H.U.M.P.

    This video clip sums it all up:

    https://youtu.be/76RWWl01JMc

  • Driving while texting is really stupid, and criminally negligent.

    These days you could be rear ended any moment because some idiot is looking at his or her phone instead of the road.

  • So many folks from LA at HSU now, the cel phone laws are not enforced at all there. Too much traffic.
    HSU really needs to give incoming students a handout on how to drive here.

  • The Education phase is about done. Everybody knows texting while driving is dangerous and against the law. It’s time to make the penalties for texting while driving match those for DUI.

  • I was hit from behind on my harley and thrown into the on coming lane by a distracted driver on her phone. I lucked out not receiving major injuries just lots road rash cuts and bruises. The girl left the seen then came back in a different car. she was not even sited with no lesson learned. If she would have a couple drinks in her it would have been felony dui. The laws need to get tougher on this dangerous driving. join B.A.D.D. (bikers against distracted drivers)

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