Lawyer warns local students about distracted driving

10 months 5 days 16 hours ago Wednesday, March 13 2019 Mar 13, 2019 Wednesday, March 13, 2019 8:56:00 PM CDT March 13, 2019 in News
By: Arielle Cadet, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - The safety and security department at Stephens College is teaching the students and community about the dangers of distracted driving.

Matt Devoti with End Distracted Driving and the Distracted Driving Awareness Initiative spoke at the college Wednesday and warned about the dangers of driving with distractions.

“It goes really beyond just texting and driving but any kind of activity that takes your mind off the primary purpose of driving your car,” Devoti said.

Director of Safety and Security Ken Hammond said the event is a part of Stephens’ Transportation Safety Week. He said the school wants to make sure students are reminded to take safety precautions before the head off for spring break.

“We’re hoping to expose them to the dangers of distracted driving and to bring home that it only takes a very short moment to really alter a person’s life,” Hammond said.

In 2016--the most recent year available--the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports:

  • 9 percent of fatal crashes were caused by distracted driving
  • 3,450 people were killed in crashes involving distracted driving
  • 9 percent of distracted drivers are between the ages of 15 and 19
  • 486 people died in crashes involving cell-phone related activities

Devoti is a lawyer in St. Louis. He described the different cases in which he was involved where someone was injured or killed by a distracted driver. In his presentation, he pointed to these statistics and more. He showed examples and spoke to the audience about their experiences driving distracted or being a passenger with a distracted driver.

“You are 23 times more likely to be in a car crash if you’re texting and driving. You are 9 times more likely if you’re pulling something from your purse or your backpack,” Devoti said.

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