“Buckle Up and Phone Down”: Wisconsin DOT reports an increase in distracted driving deaths

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — If you’re headed out on the road, buckle up and put the phone down. Statewide, today is the 2nd annual Buckle Up and Phone Down Day – a campaign that encourages Wisconsinites to focus on the road. The campaign comes as distracted driving deaths increase statewide for the third year.

In the age of technology, being connected online is second nature, but distracted driving can mean life or death. Statewide, in the past two years, the Wisconsin DOT saw an increase of 54% in distracted driving related deaths. This year, 31 people died from distracted driving. Secretary of the Wisconsin DOT Craig Thompson says it only takes a few seconds of distracted driving for a crash to happen.

“We’ve seen too many instances of, you know, especially depending on what speed you’re traveling at, taking your eyes off the road looking down for only seconds can result in a tragedy,” Thompson said.

Thompson says distracted driving crashes happen to people of all ages and roughly 50% of all distracted driving deaths happen because someone was not wearing a seatbelt.
In Wisconsin, the average rate of buckling up is 2% lower than the national average.

The DOT is encouraging people to take part in the pledge going to www.WisconsinDOT.gov and uploading a picture of themselves with pledging to buckle up and phone down.